“Negotiation Genius” is another book on the subject in a long line of similar books. It is not surprising that the authors, Malhotra and Bazerman are both professors at Harvard Business School, genesis of the most famous book ever on the subject “Getting to Yes” by Roger Fisher, Bruce M. Patton, and William L. Ury.
Like “Getting to Yes”, this book is simplicity itself. Full of case studies that explain and demonstrate “how to” it provides the reader with five clear principles to apply in any negotiation. The authors use a nice analogy of the crime detective to emphasise their main point – that the best and often the only way to get what you want from a negotiation is to approach the negotiation from an investigative viewpoint rather than assuming you know what the motivation is behind the other party’s wants. They argue that most negotiators assume they understand the other party’s motivations and therefore don’t explore them further. And so, they often get stuck in trying to bargain around their own position rather than looking at the reasons “why?” the other party wants what they want.
Simple, but effective. Like so many good books of its type, it’s a shame that the people who really need to apply the principles outlined by Malhotra and Bazerman in “Negotiation Genius” (e.g. our politicians, international trade negotiators and the like) will not be reading and applying their investigative approach. Never mind, you and I will become all the better for applying our investigative skills to our future negotiations.
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Ian McMaster is Head of Learning & Development at BRC Partnership who assists leaders and managers to ask themselves the pertinent and essential questions so they can be more effective in their work.
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