Extractive summaries of and key takeaways from the articles curated from TOP TEN BUSINESS MAGAZINES to promote informed business decision-making | Week 290 | March 31-April 6, 2023
What HBO’s “Succession” Can Teach Us About Negotiating
By Francesca Gino | Harvard Business Review | March 31, 2023
Many TV watchers are abuzz about the return of the hit HBO series Succession. The prestige drama doubles as a withering lens into the complex relationships, power dynamics, and jargon often found in corporate America. The first episode of season four, which aired on March 26, offers a moment of reflection on the pitfalls to which business leaders often succumb in high-stakes negotiations. And negotiations go wrong in real life all the time. Here are words to the wise on what to take away.
- Avoid offers you can’t justify. Negotiators who provide explanations for their proposals are more likely to reach agreements than those who do not offer any justification, research shows. Compelling, well-reasoned explanations show the other side that you’ve given considerable thought to your offer and that it is well justified. Avoid overconfidence.
- Frame your proposal. The way an offer is presented can influence its perceived value and, ultimately, the negotiation’s outcome. Negotiators can increase the likelihood of an offer being accepted by framing their proposal in a way that emphasizes its benefits and minimizes its drawbacks.
- Anchors are sticky. A powerful tool in negotiation, anchoring involves introducing a specific reference point, or anchor, aimed at influencing the other party’s perception of the value of subsequent offers. Anchors are generally used as first offers in negotiation. This means that the first offer presented in a negotiation can have a significant impact on the final outcome, even if it is not accepted.
- Emotions can derail negotiations. Negotiators experiencing competitive arousal tend to make aggressive demands and extreme offers, and to become overly defensive or argumentative. This can escalate conflict and make it difficult to reach mutually beneficial agreements. It can also lead negotiators to make irrational offers. The desire to win becomes more important than making sound decisions. Both negative and positive emotions can impair negotiators’ ability to accurately assess situations and make rational decisions — and make it challenging to achieve a successful negotiation outcome.
- Negotiate process, not just substance. Negotiating the negotiation process can include setting ground rules, agreeing on a timeline, and establishing the roles and responsibilities of each party. In a business negotiation, the parties might agree to a specific meeting format, including how long each person will have to speak and when breaks will be taken. Such rules establish a clear structure for the negotiation and can help ensure that both parties feel heard and understood.
3 key takeaways from the article
- Many TV watchers are abuzz about the return of the hit HBO series Succession. The prestige drama doubles as a withering lens into the complex relationships, power dynamics, and jargon often found in corporate America.
- The first episode of season four, which aired on March 26, offers a moment of reflection on the pitfalls to which business leaders often succumb in high-stakes negotiations. And negotiations go wrong in real life all the time.
- Words to the wise on what to take away from this drama episode are: Avoid offers you can’t justify; frame your proposal thoughtfully; anchors are sticky so be careful when giving the first offer in a negotiation; emotions can derail negotiations; and negotiate the process, not just substance.
Topics: Decision-making, Negotiation, Communication