Episode Thumbnail
Episode 219  |  35:06 min

Employ Creative Problem-Solving in Negotiations

Episode 219  |  35:06 min  |  05.11.2021

Employ Creative Problem-Solving in Negotiations

00:00
00:00
This is a podcast episode titled, Employ Creative Problem-Solving in Negotiations. The summary for this episode is: <p>Dr. Josh Weiss spends a lot of time in the conflict realm. He works at the Global Negotiation Initiative, has his own negotiation consulting company, and runs a completely online master’s degree program in leadership and negotiation at Baypath University. The goal of Josh’s book,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08DRQWTY9/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&amp;btkr=1" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank" style="color: rgb(51, 122, 183);">The Book of Real World Negotiations</a>, was to tell real-life stories to show people the most effective way to negotiate—using creative problem-solving. This book gives real-world, real-life examples of being able to bring creativity into the problem-solving process. Listen to this episode of Negotiations Ninja to hear his stories.</p><h2>Outline of This Episode</h2><ul><li>[1:42] Who is Dr. Josh Weiss?</li><li>[5:25] The post-settlement settlement</li><li>[14:49] Understanding underlying interests</li><li>[22:42] Addressing cultural differences</li><li>[28:33] Your mindset is the key</li><li>[32:48] How to connect with Dr. Weiss</li></ul><h2>Resources &amp; People Mentioned</h2><ul><li><a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08DRQWTY9/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&amp;btkr=1" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank" style="color: rgb(51, 122, 183);">The Book of Real World Negotiations</a>&nbsp;by Dr. Josh Weiss</li></ul><h2>Connect with Dr. Josh Weiss</h2><ul><li><a href="https://www.joshuanweiss.com/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank" style="color: rgb(51, 122, 183);">Website</a></li><li>Connect on&nbsp;<a href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/joshua-weiss-b1882a/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank" style="color: rgb(51, 122, 183);">LinkedIn</a></li></ul><h2>Connect With Mark</h2><ul><li>Follow Negotiations Ninja on Twitter:&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/NegotiationPod" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank" style="color: rgb(51, 122, 183);">@NegotiationPod</a></li><li>Connect with Mark&nbsp;<a href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/markraffan/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank" style="color: rgb(51, 122, 183);">on LinkedIn</a></li><li>Follow Negotiations Ninja&nbsp;<a href="https://www.linkedin.com/company/negotiations-ninja-podcast" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank" style="color: rgb(51, 122, 183);">on LinkedIn</a></li><li>Connect on Instagram:&nbsp;<a href="https://www.instagram.com/negotiationpod/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank" style="color: rgb(51, 122, 183);">@NegotiationPod</a></li></ul><p><a href="https://plinkhq.com/i/1300435924" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank" style="color: rgb(51, 122, 183);"><strong>Subscribe to Negotiations Ninja</strong></a></p>
Takeaway 1 | 03:43 MIN
Who is Dr. Josh Weiss?
Takeaway 2 | 09:17 MIN
The post-settlement settlement
Takeaway 3 | 07:53 MIN
Understanding underlying interests
Takeaway 4 | 05:50 MIN
Addressing cultural differences
Takeaway 5 | 04:07 MIN
Your mindset is the key
Takeaway 6 | 01:20 MIN
How to connect with Dr. Weiss

The goal of Dr Josh Weiss’s book, The Book of Real World Negotiations, was to tell real-life stories to show people the most effective way to negotiate—using creative problem-solving. This book gives real-world, real-life examples of being able to bring creativity into the problem-solving process. Listen to this episode of Negotiations Ninja to hear his stories.

Guest Thumbnail
Dr. Josh Weiss
Negotiation Consultant
Senior Fellow, Harvard Negotiation Project, Co-Founder, Global Negotiation Initiative at Harvard University, Director of the MS in Leadership and Negotiation Bay Path Univ., Consultant
Dr. Weiss's Website

Speaker 1: Welcome to the Negotiations Ninja podcast, where we develop and deliver the most engaging negotiation content and training in the world. We host negotiation experts, business people and entrepreneurs, and discuss what works, what doesn't work and how we can improve our negotiation skills.

Mark: Hey, welcome to Negotiations Ninja listeners to this incredible new podcast, where we dive into a conversation with my friend, Joshua Weiss. He wrote the amazing book, The Book of Real World Negotiations. If you recall, we did have a conversation with him previously about this, but there was something that we missed and I think it's incredibly important that we cover it. It's how to get into creative problem solving in negotiation. So how do we solve problems creatively through our negotiation? Sometimes, we hit brick walls in negotiations. We don't know where to go to next and creativity that's required to get us out of difficult situations and progressing to a deal that makes sense is very, very important. So how do we do that? We dive into that conversation today with our friend, Dr. Joshua Weiss. Josh, we're here. We made it barring a few technical difficulties, but we made it man. Welcome. Thank you for being on the show.

Joshua Weiss: My pleasure as always. Thanks for having me back.

Mark: I'm excited to have you here, man. For the listeners who don't know about you and what you do, maybe you can give them a bit of background as to who you are and what you do.

Joshua Weiss: Sure. Well, I definitely spend a lot of my time working in the leadership negotiation and dealing with conflict realm. My kind of work in three different realms, if you will are buckets of things that I do. So the first one is the project at the program on negotiation with William Ury called The Global Negotiation Initiative, and I'm a senior fellow there as well, so I get involved in some interesting work related to that. I also have my own negotiation consulting company where I do a lot of different work that really runs the gamut from working with governmental entities to for- profit, non- profit, hospitals, you name it, anybody that needs leadership negotiation, conflict- related work, I work with. It's fascinating stuff to dive into those worlds that you don't know a lot about. Then finally, I run a master's degree program at smaller school in Western Massachusetts called Bay Path University. That master's degree is in leadership and negotiation and it's all online. I've actually been working in teaching online for quite a long time, well before COVID and I have come to believe that not only is it possible to do it, but it's possible to do it very well and students really come out of the program with a great experience. So I'm very happy about that and want to just say that for those of you who, perhaps, have soured a little bit on online learning, I think if it's done the right way, it can be great. So I would encourage you to give it another chance.

Mark: Very, very cool, man. Very cool. You didn't talk about your book at all, I'm a big fan of that, maybe mention the book.

Joshua Weiss: So I published, in August, a book called The Book of Real- World Negotiations: Successful Strategies From Business, Government, and Daily Life. Really, it's 25 cases of real- world negotiations and the goal of the book was to tell the story of these examples of negotiations that happened with an eye toward, in many ways, showing people what I imagined and what I really think is the most effective way to negotiate. So it's very much a how- to book with difficult, complicated problems that people, through creativity and problem solving, which is what we're going to talk about today, came to find solutions to these difficult problems. So it was great and I learned a lot doing it and I think I've gotten a lot of really good feedback from folks saying that these are very helpful in helping to operationalize theories and concepts and put them into real world settings.

Mark: So the thing I love about the book is that it's evidence- based case driven, right? So very, very helpful from that perspective to say," Okay, here's a situation that happened, real- world scenario." I think a lot of people can relate to that, right? Where they're like," Oh, man. We're running through a very similar situation right now," or," There's a similar situation that we've run through in the past." That was super similar to that and then, they can relate in a totally different way than I think many different books actually connect with their audience. So I think it makes a ton of sense and it's really, really helpful. For the listeners listening into this right now, the reason we're having Josh on the show is because we want to talk about creative problem- solving and creativity in general in negotiations. I think, especially in difficult negotiations, we're required almost to approach problem- solving or negotiation creatively. But the question naturally becomes, how? Right? It's all good and well for you and I to pontificate and say," Hey, be more creative!" But that doesn't really help anyone, so we want to get into the weeds today, listeners, on how would you approach something more strategically, more creatively and really talk through some of the real world examples in Josh's book. I want to start off there in chapter three, Josh, where you start talking about," Okay. You reached an agreement. Now, can you make it better?" I think a lot of people stop right where they've reached an agreement and they think," Okay, there is no way to optimize this. There's no way to make this better." Maybe talk the listeners through the thinking of this chapter and why you put this in this place.

Joshua Weiss: Sure. Yeah. Again, to your point, I think one of the things, let's just say this before I dive in, a lot of people don't really see negotiation as a creative problem- solving process. They see it much more about compromise, about haggling and bargaining and not well, are we sure that we really have not just any deal, but the best one, right? That's the point of negotiation is not just to reach an agreement; it's to reach an agreement that really meets our needs as best as possible. So this chapter is interesting. So it actually was one of the ones that I, from my own experience, put forth and the essence was that I was doing a training for a recycling company in the Midwest of the United States. It was a negotiation training and one of the breaks, I happened to be talking to two of the young professionals that were attending and their names were Zina and James. We got to talking and they said," We're really excited because we just closed a deal with another company that we had been working with before. We had previously had a two- year agreement. We just re- upped for another two years and we're excited. All we have to do is sign on the dotted line and then we can move forward." I said," That's great. Congratulations. That's not an easy thing to do. As you guys are cutting your teeth on all this, that's really terrific." I said," Let me ask you a quick question. Did you guys explore what else you could add to make this better, because you guys have had a feeling out period? You've worked together for a couple of years. You're both satisfied with the relationship and the arrangement, right? So did you talk about other things that might actually be helpful to add to this agreement?" They were like," Well, no. What do you mean? We had a good agreement. It worked. Everybody was happy with it, so what are you getting at?" Then I said," Well, let me just ask you this question," and this all comes, by the way, from a gentleman named Howard Rafa who has since passed away, really nice man Harvard Business School professor. He conceptualized an idea called post- settlement settlement. I jokingly say it's probably the least sexy name he could have thought of, but the idea is really quite brilliant, which is that when you get to a place where Zina and James are, where you've got an agreement, ask the question before you sign on the dotted line," Is there any way that we could make this better for both of us?" Why that's so effective is you've got an agreement. It's already done. You haven't signed on the dotted line yet, so because somebody once said to me," You have to be careful. That might be viewed as a dirty trick." I said," Well, I got you. I know that sometimes people will come back to the last minute I'd asked for something else. That's not at all what I'm talking about here. What I'm talking about is asking the question,'Could we add something to this agreement that would make it better for you? Are there things that actually that you value that would be beneficial that we never talked about?'" Right?

Mark: Mm-hmm(affirmative).

Joshua Weiss: And vice versa, being able to ask the same thing of the other, right? So it's a mutual benefit where each one of you, so if it's only going to benefit one side, typically that's not what we're aiming for. We're aiming for a scenario where each side makes the deal better for them. So I said to Zina and James," Is there anything, just for example, from your point of view, is there anything that you could think of that might make this better?" They thought about it for a minute and they said," Yeah, kind of. We think so." They said,"You know what? Let us go," because this was during a lunch break, and they said," Let us go think about this," and I saw them go off to the side and they put up a whiteboard and they started brainstorming and they came up with a couple of things that would actually be of help. So they came back and they said," Actually, we had identified a couple of things here that would be beneficial." I said," Well, after the training, why don't you call your counterpart and ask them that question?'Is there anything that we could add to this agreement that would be beneficial for them?' And say,'We've got a couple of ideas, things that would help us.'" They did and it turned out, so they emailed me a few days later after I had gone home from the training. They said," We reached out to our counterpart," and they had never had anybody ask them that kind of a question. They said," Let me discuss with my boss," and it turned out that the length of contract was two years, but it actually would have benefited both of them to have more longevity, to have more certainty. So they both agreed to move it from a two to a four- year arrangement and for the client in this case, they actually wanted if they could move their delivery date around some of the things they had talked about, it would be beneficial to them because they had a lot of things happening at that same time of the month. So they said," Yes," then there were some things that they asked for that the other side could agree to as well. So the whole idea with this is to take the basis of an agreement and ask that simple question, because what often happens is that people just don't probe deeply for what others value and the essence of really good negotiation is maximizing value, right? It's thinking about all of those things and then making them part of an agreement. Too often, people just don't go there. They think they've done the hard work, but they've not really gotten creative and said," Let's just, for a minute, take off her decision- making hat and just start thinking what else could be added to this that would move it from,'This is a reasonable agreement. We both profit and whatever,' to,'Wow! This is a really good agreement that ticks all the boxes for us of all the things that matter.'"

Mark: I love the way that you approached this and I'm glad that you made the distinction at the beginning about value extraction versus value addition because I think when a lot of people read this on the surface, they're like," Okay, this person's classic tactical nibbling where they're trying to say,'Before I sign, I want a set of winter tires,'" whatever, right? The classic example. But what you're saying is it's not value extraction; it's value addition. You're not saying," I want this additionally out of this," you're saying," What else can we collectively provide to make this even better for both parties to get out of this?" I love that. One of the things that I really appreciate in your books is you summarize each chapter with the lessons. So for me, the biggest lesson that I took out of this one was," Look, this is about maximizing value and using very, very simple questions to unlock potentially very complex issues. I think a lot of people approach the post- agreement optimization as very complex because you think the only stuff left is going to be the complex stuff, but oftentimes, I've found that once the weight of the agreement is basically off your shoulders, you've already collectively agreed to something, that sparks new ideas in what could potentially happen.

Joshua Weiss: That's right, and it's almost like what's the harm in doing it? If you don't find anything, we already have this, so we're good. But it's amazing, even that five, 10, 15 minute exploration can yield something. As you say, I find sometimes people contort themselves into knots trying to think of the smartest, most complex question and really it's," No, no, no. Keep it simple. Ask the direct, ask the," Hey, if we were to just think together about whether we could make this thing better for both of us, what do you think?" I've never had somebody say," That's ridiculous. I'm not thinking that with you," because that would be absurd.

Mark: Right, because where's the harm? We've already agreed to something and now you're saying," Let's make it better." There's no harm in that.

Joshua Weiss: The one thing I would say that's important is just the setup, right? It's just to say," Look, so we've got this agreement. I know we're both comfortable with it, but let me just ask you a question to see if we could make this better." I would imagine that most people in negotiation would be like," Okay, well what do you have in mind?" Right? You may get some people who think," This is a trick, and you can dispel it and say," Look, this only works if it's better for you and better for us." So be conscious. I guess that's the big thing, is just be conscious, as you say, of the nibbling perception and make sure that you can explain how this is different because it is different. I think it's a really interesting tool to maximize value.

Mark: I totally agree with you. Hey listeners, I want to tell you about another company that I run called Content Callout. It is a thought leadership brand marketing company. Now, what does that mean? It means that we take you as an executive or entrepreneur, a leader of a small or medium- sized business and we turn you into a thought leader online. We take your personal brand and we amp it up to 11 so that you can lead with confidence knowing that people will recognize you, recognize your brand and recognize your business, because of the thought leadership approach that you've taken on social media, through content creation and content distribution, as well as engaging with all of your following online. How do you get involved in this? Easy, easy, easy. Just go to contentcallout. com/ getstarted. You will see there are three different options that will allow you to take your thought leadership brand for yourself and for your business to the next level. We are super excited to talk to you about this. We've seen some massive growth with the businesses that we've been working with, very, very exciting time for us. Look at that. We appreciate it. Now back to your show. One of the things that I appreciated most in the book was where you start talking about understanding underlying interests in after people potentially walk away. So in chapter six, you say, and I love this title," Let's walk away, but before we do, would you consider?" I think so many people, it's good that they know when and where to walk away, which is fantastic. But I think they almost consider that as their curiosity doesn't drive them further to be like," Okay, now that we've walked away and the pressure is off, what would have made this deal work?" So I wonder if you could walk people through the background of the case there. Is it D- O- A- R?

Joshua Weiss: Yeah. I just call it DOAR.

Mark: Okay.

Joshua Weiss: Just for simplicity purposes. So yeah, sure. I will. This, by the way, is also, I was doing a negotiation training for this company and the president pulled me over and he said," I've got this situation. I'm curious what you think." We started talking about BATNA and I'm assuming everybody knows about BATNA, but if they don't, your BATNA is your best alternative to a negotiated agreement, which really means what are you going to do if you can't reach agreement? What do you do then?

Mark: Right.

Joshua Weiss: So basically, the essence of this scenario was that DOAR, which is really, it's a law firm. It's not a law firm. It's a firm that connects experts with legal teams for depositions. Typically, what they do is a law firm will reach out to them and say," We need an expert witness to testify in this big case," whether it's a car company or something like that. So they have these experts that they tap into and they had previously worked with this law firm that had reached out to them and the law firm, it was a lawyer who basically wouldn't sign their limited liability waiver due to the risk levels involved in this particular case. It was a multi- billion dollar lawsuit that was happening and so they were very nervous about it. Now, what was interesting is in the past, they had never had a problem with this law firm signing off on the limited liability. The lawyer in question said," Well," because when I talked to the head of DOAR and I said," Do you know why? What's the difference this time?" He said," I really don't. So I said," Well, I think you ought to go back and try to figure out what's going on here because I don't want to sign a limited liability waiver as a position. There's a reason why and in effect, he went back and tried to get down to those underlying interests we were talking about. This is actually an interesting example of how the lawyer involved wouldn't really share the underlying interests. He pretty much just said," Look, I'm not comfortable doing-

Mark: That's our policy, right?

Joshua Weiss: Yeah. Right. That's our policy. Also just that, as he said," If other people at this law firm have done that with you, they shouldn't have and that's on them. I'm sticking to the policy that we have." So that was the scenario that he explained to me and he's like," Look, I guess we have nothing else that we can do but just walk away, because it just doesn't make sense. We're not willing to take on the risk," because what he wanted was DOAR to take on the risk. If something were to happen, even though it was a remote chance that something would go wrong, it's the kind of scope and scale of an issue that could put DOAR out of business. They were like," We're just not doing that." So when I talked to him, he said," Here's where we are." I said," Okay, that's interesting. Before you walk away, though, is there any other way to redesign this deal, if you will? He said," What do you mean?" I said," I don't know. I'm asking you the question as an outside consultant. I'm asking you, think differently about this." What happens is a lot of times people get to a place where they think that the only thing they can do is walk away. But sometimes, and there's this case and there's another case in the book where instead of doing that, you can try to redesign the deal in a way that's different and that comes across differently. So what they did was they went to the expert that was on their roster and they said," Look, this company really wants to use you, but we're having a problem with limited liability issues, et cetera. Instead of just not doing this, we don't want to take the business away from you. What would you think about you directly contracting with the law firm?" They hired directly instead of through us because this guy was a single entity, so if they ran into some kind of an issue, he wouldn't be able to be sued for many, many millions of dollars, right? The guy had a limited liability company, so he basically had nothing that he could really be sued for. The guy said," Well, I certainly want the work." So, okay. Then they said," However, because we did find the law firm and things like that, we can provide you with services in the background and help you deal with some of the logistics and things like that." But in essence, so what ended up happening was like a three- way agreement where the law firm agreed with the expert, the expert agreed to take on the liability because for him, there really wasn't much risk and then the expert had a side agreement with DOAR that basically said," You're going to provide these services to me and I'm going to give you your percentage that you normally get." What's interesting about that is it came about because we put the brakes on the idea of just exercising your patent and said," What about redesigning this in a way that still met your interest?" But the issue of liability was something that the expert could assume because it really wasn't going to be an issue or a problem for him and it took the liability off the table for the law firm and DOAR. That, to me, is how you utilize creativity so that you don't just throw the towel in, but you say," Well, wait a minute. Before we do that, can we redesign this deal in a different kind of way?"

Mark: I love that. What struck me is the big question was risk, so how do we distribute risk across all the different parties so that it makes sense for everyone? I think when a lot of people get into this kind of a situation, they are very myopic in their thinking about the distribution of risk," It's either you or me." But in this case, it was a third party. You could distribute the risk evenly to the third party and they still had a financial interest in it where it made sense for them to be able to take on that risk. So that deal was salvaged in that way and we get stuck in this myopic thinking of," It's either your risk or my risk," but maybe there's another way.

Joshua Weiss: Well, that's right. There's also another dynamic here, which is that people's perceptions of risk and their view of risk, because the risk didn't actually change from everybody, but DOAR admitted early on that the risk of something happening in this scenario was really small.

Mark: Right.

Joshua Weiss: The essence is it's an expert, who's testifying, so what's the liability that you're talking about? There's some, but based on the advice or their input or whatever, but it's really small. When I said to DOAR," If this is so small, why are you not willing to take the risk?" They said," Because it could put us out of business and even if it's a one or 2% chance, we're not going to do that." So one thing that I think is really important when risk comes up, because people really do hold different views of risk, and I do a lot of work with this engineering company and there've been a number of scenarios where the issue is about risk. One entity is seeing the risk as much greater than the other and so it's like, can we just transfer that over and maybe create some kind of compensation package that says," If something happens, there's these resources, and if not, you get to keep the dollars and cents for putting yourself out there." But the point is to dig into risk a little bit and to see if people hold different views, because in this case, the expert was like," Well, really, there's almost nothing that I can say that's going to create a huge problem, so I'm willing to take on that risk when the others weren't." I think, we are back to interests here, which is that was a key part of this negotiation was gauging the level of risk that people were willing to take on or not take on. But it's also, again, getting people to think," How can we restructure this thing instead of just walking away or just throwing our hands up?" I think a lot of times people don't think about restructuring deals in a different way that could still address those interests that are there.

Mark: Sometimes it becomes cultural almost, and this is the one thing that I really enjoyed about chapter 13 where you've got two companies from two different cultures, and I won't give away too many of the details without you filling in the gaps, but being able to get creative enough to be able to separate those relationships/ cultural problems from the actual problem itself, I think was a big way to use creativity in that. So before I botch the story, maybe just give the listeners a bit of background as to what we're talking about here and how you or this people were able to utilize creativity to make this deal work, essentially.

Joshua Weiss: Yeah. So this is an interesting one. So basically, the story is that it was a German company that we'll just call Agency and Trust that decided to sell, there's a famous movie studio. It's known as DEFA with an acronym. I'm not going to try to pronounce the German because that would be ugly. So I apologize to anybody from Germany who's listening, but, and they were trying to sell this and it was part of a much bigger plot of land. There was the movie studio that was in this, but then it was surrounded by offices and then there was another round of land that surrounded it. So it was something like 40 hacked acres, which I can't really translate into regular acres. Maybe you can, but what I understand, it was a lot, okay? So there was another party that was French that wanted to buy the company, Vivendi, which many people would have heard of. So the problem was that first of all, in selling DEFA, the German entity had to be very careful because DEFA was like an icon of German history. Marlene Dietrich and other really important movie stars in German movie lore had gone through there, done work there. So it was something that folks wanted to preserve as best as possible so then he wanted to use it as a movie studio going forward. But the problem was that they had a very big gap in their zone of possible agreement or their ZOPA. What Agency and Trust wanted to sell it for and what Vivendi could pay was significant. So they were struggling and again, to your point about the cultural piece, France and Germany have had their struggles over the years, as people perhaps know if they know their history. Some of those cultures, and also, French negotiating culture and German negotiating culture are very different. Germans are very direct; French, more diplomatic in their orientation, et cetera, just to generalize. I know not everybody does that, but the essence of it was there's some clash in cultures of the negotiators that took place. To their credit, the lead negotiators decided that before we pulled the plug on this, maybe what we should do is let's get ourselves out of the way, because they knew that there was some tension between them for different reasons, right? So they formed a working group and what the working group did was they got creative and they basically said," Okay, what are the ways in which we could try to bridge this gap?" The idea that they came up with was this. So basically, they would agree to sell the studio and the offices around and then, since neither one really wanted the land that was beyond the office space, they agreed to put that land up for sale. As they sold off those parcels, they would each essentially get the resources from that. So they called it a clawback provision, so in that case, the shortfall could be made up from selling off these parcels of land and then paying chunk by chunk over time. That was a very creative way to do this and what it required was a trifurcation of the situation. So in some instances, one thing that you can do is when you're stuck or trying to figure out how do you negotiate around a single issue, what you do is you say," Is there any way that we can break this single issue into its component parts?" So just think about a budget, right? Sometimes when you have a problem around budget, well, break it out into its different pieces and think," Well, could we hold off on this aspect of the budget?" Or something like that? That's what they did here was they took a singular negotiation problem that didn't look like a solution and said," Well, what if we break this down and say,'Okay, this movie studio and the offices are valuable to Vivendi because they want to make movies and go forward, but this other land, what could we do with it? How could we use it?'" That's when they landed on this idea of selling it off piece by piece and bridging the gap.

Mark: Very creative. I think the one theme that I keep coming back to over and over whenever I read through this book is, there are so many different ways to approach problems. Sometimes, it takes a book like this to be able to remind us of all the different varying ways that we could approach these problems and come up with creative solutions. I think for many of us that are negotiators by trade, whether they're in procurement or sales or crisis negotiations or whatever it might be, you see the same type of negotiation over and over and over again. So a lot of this becomes rote where you're just almost like you're stuck in one track of thinking. Then, when you come up with something where you're like," Whoa, this is totally out of the normal for me and I should be able to solve this problem, but for whatever reason, I can't think of any other solution." It's quite a mind- numbing process where you're like," Man, I don't know why I can't seem to get through this or why I can't seem to break through this barrier." For me, this book helps people like us who negotiate for a living, helps us to think differently, helps us to think creatively and it gives real world, real life examples of being able to do that and being able to find additional resources and think in different ways. So for that, I want to say, thank you very much for writing this book because I have it on my screen as we're talking. Every now and again, I go back to it. I'm like," Oh, yeah. Right. Exactly. We could approach it this way or we could approach it that way." This just really, really good for creativity and ideas. What's one final piece of advice that you'd like to leave the listeners today on creativity in negotiations?

Joshua Weiss: Honestly, your mindset is the essence of this. If you go into a negotiation and you think," Okay, we're going to have to do some creative problem- solving to figure out a solution here." You're going to find one. Your mindset, it's thinking," Okay. The other negotiator is not the problem. The problem is the issue on the table and you guys are going to have to work together to figure that out." But if you bring that mindset to the table, that's going to be fundamentally important. So if you're problem solving, like anybody whose problem solved before knows that the first idea that you come up with is not the one that's going to land. It just doesn't work that way, right? It takes some noodling. It takes somebody saying," Well, that's not bad, but let's add this to it or that to it." Then, now we got something, right? So, patience. There isn't a textbook out there or anything written on negotiation that says," Make sure you rush through this as fast as you can," and yet it seems as if most negotiators, they're in a hurry. I'm like," Where are we going? Let's do justice to this problem and see if we can find the best solution. So your mindset and patience and persistence, keep going because what happens in my experience in negotiation is that as you go information slowly reveals itself and somebody says," Well, I can't really do that because I have this constraint." So I think it's that formula of your mindset being in that creative problem- solving space with patience and persistence. If you go down a road and it's blocked, don't say," Well, we tried to negotiate, it didn't work." Stay at the table and keep trying. Keep flipping the problem differently. How else can we look at this? Can we break this down, as we were just talking about, into its component parts? Can we, what? It's those conversations that unlock things and that would be my advice to people is utilize that formula and I will guarantee you that more often than not, you will be able to find deals that work for you.

Mark: What I find helpful in situations where you want to do business with someone, but you've come across a term or something that, and the feeling is mutual, let's say you both want to do business together. You come across a term or a clause that both parties can't necessarily agree to, is phrasing it in hypotheticals. And just saying," Look, no, one's on the hook here. I'm not going to hold you to anything that you say. My expectation is you don't hold me to anything that I say. Let's get to the whiteboard and just start throwing things at the whiteboard and just say,'Hey, hypothetically, what if we did this, or what if we did that?" That, I think, is a really good creative process to be able to start generating ideas.

Joshua Weiss: Yeah, and that's all in the setup because I've had people say," What's the trick here? What are you trying to get me to do?" I'm like," I'm not trying to get you to do anything. Look, I'm trying to get you to think with me. Take your hat off, your decision- making hat. We're not doing that. You're not offering anything, I'm not offering anything. Let's just start throwing things out there and see where we get to." I think that once you get over that, as you well know, Mark, magical things happen. This isn't Disney; it's real life, but you see that people begin to see how things can emerge in front of them when they start thinking like this. I think that's one of the hardest things, especially when you're dealing with people who, A, don't know, there's another way to negotiate or, B, think that they have to be positional and hold back all their information. That's a challenge and the one thing that I'm learning more and more to try to shift those people is to use stories and say," Let me give you an example of how I did this over here. What do you think applies to our situation?" I'm finding that to be a much better way than," Let me tell you why you're wrong and why you don't get it and why you don't understand." Things like that.

Mark: So telling people they're idiots doesn't work? That's crazy.

Joshua Weiss: It's funny. It's funny, but I don't think it does. I'm coming around to the notion that it does. I had somebody say to me the other day, like six months ago we were talking and he said to me, he goes," Clearly you're not smart enough to understand this, so let me try to explain it to you differently." I guess I was the idiot in that scenario.

Mark: Oh, man. Yeah. You're like,"All right. Tell me. Now really open to your ideas."

Joshua Weiss: Really. Really. I inaudible.

Mark: Dude, it's always so good to talk to you. You're a wealth of information, a wealth of experience. I really, really enjoy your writing and your work. If the listeners want to reach out to you, how do they do that?

Joshua Weiss: The best thing you can do is go to my website, which is www. joshuan, as in Noah, weiss. I was born on the day of a flood, so my parents had a sense of humor called me Noah, dot com. So it's joshuanweiss. com and all my books and podcasts and things that I did way back when podcasting was not nearly the craft that you have mastered and things like that, as well as contact information, so they can get in touch with me. I'd love to hear from them and if they've read the book and they have questions, comments, they want to tell me how much of an idiot I am, then they should feel free.

Mark: Well, always a good time talking to you, my friend. Listeners, just so that you know, we will be linking out to all of those resources in the show notes as well as on our website. I highly recommend that you go out and buy this incredible book that we've been talking about today. It's one of those go- to books that I go to on an on- going basis. Whenever I feel stuck and I'm looking for ideas about how I could approach this differently, this is the book that I go to. The book title, just so that you know, is called The Book of Real World Negotiations: Successful Strategies From Business, Government, and Daily Life. It's a fantastic book, so I recommend that you pick up. Joshua, thank you so much, once again, for being on, man.

Joshua Weiss: You're welcome, Mark. Take good care. Have a great weekend.

Speaker 1: Hey friends, thanks so much for listening to this episode. If you enjoyed it, please share it with friends and colleagues so that they can benefit from it as well. If you find Negotiations Ninja podcast worthy, please go on to iTunes and give us a cool rating with a nice review. We certainly appreciate every single one that we get because it helps us to understand who is listening, how they're listening and what it is they like. If there's something that you would like me to discuss around negotiation, influence or persuasion, give me a shout. You know how to reach me on social media or you can get me on my website, which is www. negotiations. ninja.

More Episodes

Throwback Thursday with Matthias Schranner

Michael Reddington’s Forensic Interviewing Method

Throwback Thursday with Jeanette Nyden and Lawrence Kane

The Game of Sales

Throwback Thursday with Mihai Isman

The Purpose of DISCOVER Questions