Irma Tyler Wood

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“Know When to Hold Em, Know When To Fold Em:” Patience and Judgement in Negotiation

Posted 4:12 PM by
Paraphrase of a line from a country music song, made famous by Kenny Rogers Although the line in the song is about a card game, poker to be exact, the two attributes Kenny Rogers is singing about, patience and judgement, are critical attributes for successful negotiation.  Why is patience important?  Any negotiation is like a puzzle to which a negotiator has only some of the pieces.  The other party or parties to the negotiation hold the pieces that will help a negotiator d...
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Negotiation Lesson #9: Explicitly Raise and Address the Issue of Trust

Posted 1:23 PM by
Trust is critical but not essential in negotiations. During the cold war we negotiated with the Russians all the time, but we didn’t trust them.  However, when there is trust between and among the parties to a negotiation, the sky’s the limit in terms of achieving creative, flexible, efficient effective, optimal agreements. This level of trust is built over time. When trust is absent, and both sides enter negotiations with their defenses up, agreement is possible, but it wi...
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Is Negotiation A Tool For Bridging our Current Partisan Political Divide?

Posted 6:36 PM by
I’m departing from my “Negotiation Lessons,” series this month to comment on the state of our political negotiation process. I’ll return to the regular format next month.  If you’ve staked your reputation on doing everything you can to stop the other party, is it possible to negotiate any agreement about anything?  Can the Freedom Caucus ever agree with the more moderate wing of the Republican Party, let alone the Progressive Democrats in Congress?&...
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Negotiation Lesson #8: Utilizing the Media in Negotiations

Posted 4:42 PM by
Normally, we advise clients not to negotiate in the media.  Negotiating in or through the media tends to lead to posturing, blaming, attacking and hyperbole.  Instead the parties to any critical negotiation should as a part of their process negotiations, agree in advance, on the ground rules for dealing with the media.  There should also be protocols for dealing with any breaches of an agreement on how to deal with the press.  They should agree on who on each team will s...
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Negotiation Lesson #7 - Know Thyself: Preparing Your Inner Negotiator

Posted 9:57 PM by
In preparing for a negotiation, a negotiator has two kinds of work to do, outer work and inner work.  Outer work refers to work that is tangible, and is or will be visible both to the negotiator and to those with whom he/she is negotiating.  Outer work involves things like doing research, developing a strategy, and then implementing that preparation and strategy at the negotiation table.  It involves the actions and words of the negotiator at the negotiation table. It also in...
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Negotiation Lesson #6: Working Backwards Can Help You Move Forward

Posted 2:55 PM by
When facing a complex, multi-party, multi issue negotiation, one way to manage the complexity successfully is to, “Begin with the end in mind.”  Develop a negotiation process map.  The word, “process” in this context refers to how one will negotiate.  There are always two levels in any negotiation: the first level deals with process, determining “how,” the parties will negotiate.  The second level of negotiation deals with substance, &...
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Negotiation Lesson #5: Labor Management Negotiations

Posted 1:36 PM by
Negotiating When There is No Trust, No Working Relationship and a Bad History One morning in early January, the phone in my office rang and the individual on the other end of the line laid out the following negotiation challenges: My name is ___________ and our organization has to negotiate with the most powerful union in our state. They openly brag that they’ve won everything but the kitchen sink.  Contract negotiations three years ago were nasty and contentious; ...
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Negotiation Lesson #4: “When Emotions Threaten to Derail Negotiations: Focus on Process not Substance”

Posted 4:31 PM by
This is the fourth blog in my series, titled, “10 Negotiation Lessons.”  Lessons 1-3 have advised you to “Always Test Assumptions,” “Address Elephants and Red Flags Early,” and “Make the Invisible Visible.” Today’s lesson deals with emotions. A goal I hear most often when teaching negotiation skills is, “I want to learn how to get rid of emotion.”  If you’ve ever been involved in a negotiation where parties ...
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Negotiation Lesson #3: Negotiation Magic: Make the Invisible, Visible

Posted 4:30 PM by
What is highly visible in most negotiations, the other negotiator’s positions or demands?  However, it’s what’s invisible, the underlying needs, goals, fears and concerns that are driving the other negotiator’s demands that often gets in the way of achieving the best negotiation results.  The name for these underlying needs, goals, fears and concern’s is, interests.  The other negotiator is unlikely to share their real interests for fear of looki...
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“Red Flags” and “Elephants” Derail Your Negotiations!

Posted 9:00 PM by
“Red Flags and Elephants” can derail, destroy or unnecessarily prolong negotiations; so if you are aware they exist, deal with them before you get to the substance of the negotiation.  If they surprise you or arise in the middle of the negotiations, press the pause button on negotiating substance and either address them immediately or agree on a time when you will address them.  What Are, “Red Flags and Elephants?” In negotiation, the term “Red Fl...
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