The Negotiator Magazine

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Reader’s Review

John Baker

Expand the Pie: How To Create More Value In Any Negotiation
By Grande Lum, Irma Tyler-Wood and Anthony Wanis-St. John
215pp. Seattle, WA: Castle Pacific Publishing Company, 2003.
Paperback Edition: (US) $17.50

Over twenty years ago, Roger Fisher and William Ury published a thin volume entitled Getting to YES and immediately and fundamentally changed the field of negotiations. They called their new approach "principled negotiations" and its central tenets are taught and practiced throughout the world, often labeled as "interest-based," "win-win" or "collaborative" negotiations.

In their work, Fisher and Ury recognized that one of the greatest weaknesses in the traditional positional approach to negotiations was that it operated on "… the assumption of a fixed pie" (Getting to YES, p. 58). Negotiators in this setting spent their resources on dividing it.

Fisher and Ury then postulated that if negotiators turned from positions to focusing on the interests of the parties and then worked together to seek creative options to satisfy those interests, negotiations offered an unlimited potential for adding value for all the parties. It was a true break through.

"How you negotiate may determine," Fisher and Ury wrote, "whether the pie is expanded or merely divided" (Getting to YES, p.177). Their approach offered the promise of changing negotiations from a zero-sum game to a collaborative effort to create new value.

When Fisher and Ury published Getting to YES in 1981, it was far more than a theoretical treatise. Their work provided multiple examples of negotiating situations and interactions to illustrate their approach.

In the two decades that have passed since their book appeared, however, author after author has written a primer on how to do collaborative negotiations. Training programs have abounded on the subject.

Why, then, the reader might ask, is yet another book on how to achieve the promise of the collaborative approach important. It is vital because negotiators continue to struggle with practicing the concept. The goal is clear, but far too often, negotiators have talked the talk, but failed in trying to walk the walk.

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