6. What is “Self Assessment” when strategically planning a negotiation?
A good negotiator begins by the strategic planning process by assessing her interests, BATNAs, and otherwise framing up their side of the negotiation. In doing so, she will seek to understand both sides of the negotiation. Understanding one’s own position, however, must come before a party is able to understand the other party’s position. Relevant aspects include:
• Interests – Identify the interests at stake in the negotiation. Prioritize these interests based on personal objectives. If interests are interrelated, attempt to determine optimal outcomes for combinations of interests.
• Alternatives & Resistance (Reservation) Point – After determining the interests at stake (or potentially at stake) in a negotiation, determine the Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement (BATNA) for each interest. This will allow you to identify a reservation point as to that interest. Recall, the reservation point regards the point at which you are indifferent as to whether you reach an agreement or pursue an available alternative. After determining the BATNA for each interest, consider all of the interests collectively. Unfortunately, there may not be a single BATNA for all interests collectively. Nonetheless, by considering interests together, you should be able to envision an agreement concerning multiple (or all) interests that is more valuable than if you were to choose your BATNA for any single interest. That is, agreeing to accept an outcome that is worse than your BATNA for any individual interest may allow you to grab far more value from the other available interests.
• Target or Desired Outcome – Once you have identified all the relevant interests in a negotiation, you should identify the desired outcome for each of these interests. From there, you can establish a target point, which is the upper limit of what you expect to get out of the negotiation. Note that what is ideal for each interest may not be reasonable. So, setting your target point may require some give and take among the interests. There is a fine line between expecting too much and conceding too much in setting the target point. The following can be negative dispositions for a negotiator with regard to a target outcome.
• Risk Propensity – Risk is the probability of an undesirable outcome. Understanding that risk is a part of any structured negotiation, try to understand your willingness to accept the possibility of an outcome that is negative or does not meet your interests. Understanding your risk propensity will help you in determining or setting your negotiation BATNA. Concepts related to risk propensity include:
• Discussion: Can you think of any other aspects that should be included in a self assessment? Do you see how the various considerations are interrelated?