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The Power of Understanding

Increasing Negotiation and Leadership Performance through the Power of Understanding


Laws of Power 34: Assess Integrative Options

By Karen S. Walch

In classic power strategies of negotiation, CC&D (concealment, camouflage and deception) activities are often used. This phrase comes from the world of military intelligence as efforts by rivals to control access to key information. Negotiation preparation in the classic sense focuses on how to lie, hide or omit what may be true. Many of the preparation tasks in classic power strategies have been focused around how to manage information, behavior and image via flawless CC&D measures. This week’s law will explore how integrative preparation strategies can counter and manage such deception techniques used by potential negotiation counterparts.

In many cases, negotiators lack awareness or skill about how to pursue something other than CC&D strategies in return. However, we will explore how integrative preparation and strategy can counter even the most devious negotiator.

Law 34 begins our series on integrative strategy theories, practices, and options. Throughout the next several weeks, we will advance our understanding of leverage and the necessary practices required in order to accomplish your own goals without the tricks of intentional lying and deception. We will begin with a focus on the awareness, knowledge and practices involved in integrative theories, in general, and how this specifically relates to the field of negotiation.

As an educator in the field of negotiation, I have studied and observed how many students and clients increasingly view integrative negotiation strategy as the most preferred low cost and high performance practice adopted today. Integrative strategy is also referred to as mutual gain, nonzero sum, cooperative, or problem solving negotiation.

At the core, this strategy requires an integration of a negotiator’s physiological, social, psychological, cognitive, and spiritual dimensions of their lives, in general, with their negotiations, in particular. Central to this integrative strategy is a discipline about enhanced personal integrity through mindfulness about the conscious and unconscious ways a negotiator thinks, behaves, feels, performs, and believes.

In the last several weeks, we have explored how leverage can be improved even in the most powerless situation. Fundamental to the balance of power is a discipline to prepare for a negotiation (formal or informal) by integrating the disperate components of a negotiator’s life as part of a negotiation plan. The awareness of, alignment of, and preparation about one’s own needs, values, and goals are the first step of the integrative negotiation strategy. In the next several weeks, we will explore the critical nature of the integrative negotiation strategy in the context of not only professional, but also personal negotiations in the contemporary negotiation environment.

Today, there are trends in many fields of study which address an integrative approach to a subject matter. Such a development I observe in negotiation also coincides with a movement toward integrated theories in other disciplines. In many academic schools of thought, there is a multidisciplinary and holistic approach to how problems are defined and how solutions are designed.

For example, in medicine, I discovered from my own experience how integrative medicine is utilized in cancer treatments. Integrative medicine centers and treatment programs can be found in most major cities today. Surgical, homeopathy, psycho-spiritual elements in cancer treatment today is in high demand and yielding significant results. The integration of conventional treatments with alternative therapies in cancer and other health issues are studied or treated though integrated methods of treatment. The most significant health care advances today are through the design of holistic prevention and healing therapies.

I also observe an increasing focus in the theory and the practices in the field of psychology, sociology, and neuroscience. Psychological health of social groups, organizations, and individuals now integrates disparate schools of thought in psychology and sociological studies. Trends in the treatment of psychological and brain health now bring together the affective, cognitive, behavioral and physical elements into a holistic approach toward the treatment of trauma, injuries and disease.

There is also a development in the field of electronics. Recently, a former student who is an engineer was speaking to me about the trend in integrated circuitry (IC) in his field. IC theories and practices have revolutionized the electronics industry. An integrated circuit now combines individual semi conductor devices and bonds and incorporates them to one circuit board. The integration of a large number of transmitters into a small chip has enormous impact relative to manual assembly and operation of circuits using separate electronic components. We see the creative impact of this revolution in everything from the computer I now write with to the phones we use everyday.

IC serves as a great metaphor for the negotiators today who assess, develop and design an “integrated circuit board “concerning their negotiation goals and strategies. No longer can negotiation preparation focus on merely the cognitive dimensions of preparation about how to deceive others. The strength of integrative strategies requires an awareness and integration of the physiological, psychological, behavioral, and spiritual elements of a negotiator’s life. (See Laws 2 – 14). As a result, negotiators become more adaptable and swift in an environment of stress, fear, deception and rapid change. Today’s negotiators increase the chances of accomplishing their goals not so much through CC&D preparation, but through IC.

Law 34 Exercises

1. Assess how your physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual needs align with the way you think about your current negotiation strategy.

2. Where is there a lack of alignment with your values and your behavior as a negotiator?

3. What goals would you like to set for yourself in order to align the various dimensions of your life, in general, with your negotiation goals, in particular?

Extra Credit

For a humorous look at a serious subject, read Frauds, Spies, and Lies: and How to Defeat Them by Fred Cohen (ASP Press, 2009).

48 Laws for 21st Century Global Negotiators: Join Thunderbird Professor Karen S. Walch, Ph.D., as she explores the laws of power for 21st century global negotiators. Each Monday she discusses one law and provides an exercise to identify and enhance individual negotiation power. Go to the main menu for the series.

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