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  • BRIAN: Our guest today is Bill Ury.

  • Bill's written and published several books.

  • He's here with one of those books, which is "Getting to Yes

  • with Yourself."

  • As I read your press on your site,

  • it's almost looking at it as a prequel to "Getting to Yes,"

  • which was your first book, which has been printed

  • 12 million times in English and has

  • been published in 37 languages.

  • So we've got quite an accomplished,

  • well read individual with us today.

  • Other books are "The Third Side,"

  • "Getting Past No," and "The Power of a Positive No."

  • But that's just a small bit of who Bill is.

  • And I don't know if-- for those of you who

  • I sent the link around to his page,

  • I'll try not to bore you or try not to go on for too long.

  • But he's the co-founder of Harvard's program

  • on negotiation.

  • And he's currently a distinguished senior fellow

  • at Harvard, correct?

  • But this is where it starts to get really, really interesting.

  • He's worked providing mediation services in conflicts ranging

  • from Kentucky coal mines to the Middle East and to the Balkans.

  • He's worked with Jimmy Carter to create an organization

  • to help avert or solve for civil wars

  • where he's actually traveled to Indonesia

  • and helped to resolve a civil war,

  • and in Venezuela to prevent a civil war.

  • So later today when you think you're really cool

  • and you've closed that $20,000 upgrade for your client,

  • think back to this and you'll put it in perspective, OK?

  • It's still really cool.

  • Go close it.

  • But put it in perspective.

  • He's also won several awards or been recognized

  • many, many times for his work.

  • There were one or two that jumped off the page for me.

  • He's won a Distinguished Service medal from Russia for his work.

  • So in addition to everything else that I've

  • been telling you, he actually might be a spy for all we know.

  • He has a B.A. from Yale and a Ph.D. from Harvard.

  • The work that he's done in terms of global political conflict

  • is just part of what he does.

  • He also works with top corporate executives

  • in training them to learn how to be better mediators and better

  • negotiators.

  • And what I'm really looking forward today

  • is hearing how you kind of marry global conflict resolution

  • to good business practices.

  • And after Bill speaks with us for a few minutes

  • and presents to us, I hope we can

  • have a wide open conversation around that.

  • We have between 15 and 20 of his most recent books

  • here today, so after the talk if you'd like one,

  • please grab one.

  • If you'd really like one and there isn't one left for you,

  • just get in touch with me afterwards

  • and we'll get a few more for those people who

  • really want them, OK?

  • So thanks for coming today.

  • Welcome, Bill.

  • Bill, it's all yours.

  • WILLIAM URY: OK.

  • Thanks, Brian.

  • [APPLAUSE]

  • Appreciate it.

  • That was quite an intro.

  • What I want to talk with you this morning

  • is really about what I think is one

  • of the more important, valuable, useful skills that any of us

  • can have in today's challenging times,

  • and that's a skill of negotiation, of getting to yes,

  • of trying to reach agreement with others.

  • And as I've been in this field ever since I

  • was a graduate student up the way

  • here at Harvard many years ago, I've

  • had kind of like a front seat view on something

  • that I call a revolution that actually accompanies

  • the knowledge revolution, the information

  • revolution of which Google is a part, which

  • is a more silent revolution, but it's

  • a revolution in the way in which we as individuals,

  • organizations, or societies make decisions.

  • Because typically a generation or two ago,

  • the main way in which people made

  • decisions was people on the top of the pyramids of power

  • gave the orders, and the people on the bottom

  • simply followed the orders.

  • And now thanks to the information revolution,

  • those pyramids of power are starting

  • to collapse into organizational forms

  • that more resemble networks, flatter

  • forms, more horizontal forms.

  • And as that shifts, the form of decision making shifts

  • from vertical to horizontal, and another name

  • for horizontal decision making is negotiation, is getting yes.

  • So that to get our jobs done nowadays,

  • we're literally dependent on dozens, hundreds, thousands

  • of individuals, organizations over whom

  • we exercise no direct control.

  • If we want to get to yes with them, we have to negotiate.

  • So let me just actually ask you, if you don't mind,

  • a few quick questions about your own negotiating experience.

  • Because if you think about it, what I'm interested in

  • is what stops us from getting the yes?

  • So let me just ask you to think about your own experience

  • for a moment here and ask yourself the question of, if I

  • were to define negotiation very simply and very broadly

  • as trying to reach agreement with someone-- you have

  • some interests which maybe you hold in common

  • like an ongoing relationship with a customer,

  • and some interests which maybe are in tension with each other,

  • like you'd like to get more money for your contract

  • for Google, and maybe they'd like to pay you less,

  • who do you find yourself negotiating

  • with in the broad sense of the term in the course of your day?

  • Just if you wouldn't mind just calling it out.

  • Who do you negotiate with?

  • AUDIENCE: Spouse.

  • WILLIAM URY: Your spouse.

  • OK, we'll start with the hard ones there.

  • AUDIENCE: Your children.

  • WILLIAM URY: Your children, OK.

  • Who else?

  • Your what?

  • AUDIENCE: Colleagues.

  • WILLIAM URY: Your colleagues.

  • OK.

  • Who else?

  • AUDIENCE: Internal teams.

  • WILLIAM URY: Your what?

  • AUDIENCE: Internal teams.

  • WILLIAM URY: Internal teams.

  • Right.

  • AUDIENCE: CMOs.

  • WILLIAM URY: What was that?

  • AUDIENCE: CMOs.

  • WILLIAM URY: CMOs, OK.

  • CMOs.

  • Who else?

  • AUDIENCE: My teenagers.

  • WILLIAM URY: Your teenagers.

  • OK.

  • So it's at home, it's at work.

  • Now if you were to kind of just make a ballpark estimate

  • of how much of your time do you spend broadly

  • speaking in the course of your day,

  • engaged in the process of back and forth communication, trying

  • to reach agreement with your teenagers, your spouse,

  • your colleagues, your clients, your suppliers, your boss,

  • the internal partners, and so on?

  • What percentage of your time do you

  • think it would be, what fraction of the time if you

  • had to give it a certain percentage?

  • What would you say?

  • AUDIENCE: About half.

  • AUDIENCE: Half.

  • WILLIAM URY: Half.

  • Yeah.

  • How many would agree with that?

  • It's at least half?

  • OK.

  • So we don't always think of it formally as negotiation,

  • but in the informal sense, we're engaged in this process

  • from the time we get up in the morning with our spouse,

  • teenagers, kids, and so on to the time we go to bed at night.

  • And so let me just ask you a couple other questions.

  • I mean, would you say, maybe looking

  • at the past, say, five or 10 years of your work career,

  • would you say that the amount of time

  • that you spend negotiating, has it stayed pretty steady?

  • Does it go down over time as you get

  • maybe more authority in your job?

  • Or does it go up?

  • What would you say?

  • AUDIENCE: Up.

  • WILLIAM URY: How many say it's going up?

  • OK, almost all of you.

  • So that's the negotiation revolution in form.

  • And I've travelled around the world,

  • and every country around the world I see this revolution

  • taking place in the way in which we make decisions.

  • More and more negotiation.

  • And--

  • AUDIENCE: Even in Russia?

  • WILLIAM URY: Even in Russia.

  • [LAUGHS]

  • Even in Russia.

  • A little slower in Russia, but even in Russia.

  • Yeah, no, absolutely.

  • Well, you know, I used to go to Russia

  • back in the days of the Cold War.

  • And even though change has been slow sometimes,

  • it's changed a lot since those days.

  • There's a lot more negotiation going on.

  • In fact, "Getting to Yes," I remember when it first

  • came out, there were some Russian friends

  • who wanted to translate it into Russian,

  • but they thought negotiation was subversive.

  • They didn't want to teach people how

  • to negotiate because then they would challenge authority.

  • But now there are Russian editions of it.

  • So one thing that I think might be useful just for the next,

  • you know, we've got this hour together here,

  • is if you have in mind at least one

  • challenging negotiation that you're currently facing,

  • something, it might be just for yourself.

  • It might be with your teenager or it

  • might be with your customer, it might

  • be an internal negotiation with a CMO, or whoever it is,

  • have in mind some challenging negotiation, OK?

  • Everyone got at least one in mind?

  • So let me ask you a quick question then

  • about the one you just selected.

  • There are maybe two types of negotiations we engage in,

  • the internal negotiations inside the organization

  • with our colleagues and coworkers

  • and so on, and then there are the external negotiations,

  • let's say, with clients, for example, or suppliers.

  • How many of you, just out of curiosity,

  • have just selected an external situation?

  • External.

  • OK?

  • How many of you selected an internal situation?

  • OK.

  • And just out of curiosity, if you

  • had to say which one was harder, the negotiation inside

  • or the negotiation outside, if you

  • had to just make a broad generalization, which

  • personally do you find more challenging?

  • Internal negotiations or external?

  • AUDIENCE: Internal.

  • AUDIENCE: Internal.

  • WILLIAM URY: How many would say external?

  • OK.

  • How many would say internal?

  • OK.

  • Great.

  • I mean, obviously both can be challenging.

  • But the great majority of hands go up

  • on internal, which is interesting that oftentimes we

  • experience the more challenging negotiations as being

  • the ones with the people with whom supposedly we're

  • on the same team working for the same mission, whatever,

  • but those are often more challenging.

  • Well over the years, my passion over the years

  • has been helping people get to yes, individuals,

  • organizations, societies, as Brian was mentioning, even

  • in war-like situations.

  • And the thing that sort of struck me over the years

  • is when my colleagues and I wrote "Getting to Yes,"

  • the most frequent question we got for a while was, yeah,

  • but how do you get to yes with the people who

  • don't want to get to yes, you know?

  • How do you deal with people who are

  • kind of rigid and they're intransigent

  • or they're using dirty tricks, or all kinds of things?

  • So I kind of specialized in that for a long time.