Monday, June 25, 2012

William Ury: A Yes Man Says No

The co-author of Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In (1981), William Ury knows a few things about mediation. For 30 years, he has served as a negotiation adviser and mediator in conflicts around corporate mergers, wildcat strikes in a Kentucky coal mine, ethnic wars in the Middle East, the Balkans, and the former Soviet Union, and even family disputes. With former President Jimmy Carter, he co-founded the International Negotiation Network, an organization dedicated to ending civil wars around the world. Along the way, he has taught negotiation skills to thousands of corporate executives, diplomats, labor leaders, and military officers helping organizations reach mutually beneficial agreements. 

Getting to YES focused on finding acceptable solutions through “principled negotiation.” 

But after nearly 25 years of getting to yes, this yes man said no. As the father of a baby with serious medical problems, he realized that in order to make positive choices about her health, he would have to oppose new medical procedures that he felt were inappropriate.
In The Power of Positive No: How to Say No & Still Get to Yes, Ury offers the following tips:
  1. Uncover your deeper YES (a core interest, need, or value), express it to the other person, and stay true to your yes.
  2. Deliver a respectful NO. Keep your tone neutral and matter-of-fact and empower your NO with a Plan B.
  3. Negotiate to a healthy YES. A healthy YES yields a positive outcome. Follow your NO with a positive proposal and facilitate a wise agreement.
  4. “In order to say yes to what’s truly important, you first need to say no to other things,” says Ury. “No is the new Yes,” he says. “And the “positive no” may be the most valuable life skill you’ll ever learn.”  
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