In a recent New York Times article about the just-starting labor negotiation between the NBA owners and players, David Falk, the NBA’s first superagent, said “This is not the time to fight. This is a time to sit down as partners and create a system that is realistic in today’s economic climate.”
Falk’s quote raises an important negotiation question – when should you use Competitive Negotiation Strategies vs. Problem-Solving Strategies?
Generally, Competitive Strategies work best when no future relationship is at stake, when the negotiation involves only one or a few issues, when more for your side necessarily means less for your counterpart (zero-sum) and when your counterpart uses Competitive Strategies against you.
Competitive Strategies include not sharing strategic information, aggressively developing and emphasizing your alternatives, employing your own standards, implementing an aggressive offer-concession strategy and actively controlling the agenda.
Problem-Solving Strategies work best when you have or will have a long-term personal or professional relationship with your counterpart, when the negotiation is complex (it involves many issues), when creative options are present and when your counterpart uses Problem-Solving Strategies with you.
Problem-Solving Strategies include sharing strategic information more liberally, deemphasizing your alternatives and focusing instead on independent standards, implementing a more accommodating offer-concession strategy and openly discussing the agenda.
Here, the owners and players obviously are in a long-term professional relationship, there are numerous issues on the table and creative options, such as yet untapped foreign revenue sources, are present. As David Falk pointed out (and assuming both sides are willing to reciprocate), using Problem-Solving Strategies probably makes the most sense.