What Growing the Pie is Really About

I’ve been busy writing and crowdsourcing diabolical definitions for my latest book, The Devil’s Dictionary of Work Life & Commerce. Art Markman, my guest for the 14thepisode of my podcast, gave this entry for NEGOTIATIONS: “A dignified discussion held by people dividing the pie, all of whom channel their inner five-year-old because deep down everyone wants the whole pie.”

Guess what! In wanting the whole pie, we blow the deal, and negotiations expert Leigh Thompson knows why and also what the better options are. First, the shortcomings consist of 1) being either soft as pudding and avoiding conflict or being tough as nails and pounding our fists to get as much of the existing pie as possible; 2) taking the even-steven route and dividing the pie 50/50%; and/or 3) making compromises because neither party explores where mutually advantageous agreements might be realized.

What’s a better outcome? The answer is growing the pie by finding the sweet spot(s) where trust can built up by not asking the other party to sacrifice. Instead, find out where one party’s gain isn’t actually the other party’s loss. Thompson’s book covers 41 “hacks” to avoid the “traps” negotiators typically fall into. Her favorite is The Dessert Tray, i.e., offering the other party an array of options of equal value as far as the first party is concerned and learning from that hack where the real opportunities for a win/win reside.

Negotiating at Home, at Work, and Virtually

Released today: episode #31 of “Dan Hill’s EQ Spotlight,” featuring Leigh Thompson, the author of Negotiating the Sweet Spot: The Art of Leaving Nothing on the Table. Listen to the clip below and click on the image to get to the new episode.

Thompson is a Professor of Dispute Resolution and Organizations at the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University. This is the latest of her 10 best-selling books. The episode covers the differences between scripted and unscripted negotiations and how expressing disappointment, rather than showing anger, helps make negotiations turn into a success.

Dan Hill, PhD, is the president of Sensory Logic, Inc.