Step 4: How? Negotiation

Steps to attain a “win-win” solution for areas of disagreement.

*Corresponds to Quick Implementation Guide Sheet 5: Stp 4 – How (negotiation)*


The “Win-Win”

Team members may disagree about proposed policies or practices. While you may not categorize this as “conflict” needing formal “negotiation,” the practice of understanding people’s interests to get to the “win-win” (an agreement that satisfies both parties’ interests) is foundational to effective teamwork and positive outcomes.


  • Acknowledge your thoughts to help moderate inner “noise” – “listen to yourself before you need to listen to others” [1]
  • Identify and prioritize your interests. Practice conveying them simply and succinctly.
  • Decide on your “reservation value” – the lowest value deal you are willing to accept. What do you think are others’ reservation values?
  • What actions might you take if not agreement is reached?
  • What actions might others take?
  • Based on this information decide on your BATNA – “Best Alternative to Negotiated Agreement” – the point at which you decide to leave the negotiation. Considering others’ BATNAs will help prepare you for what they may say.


  • Role model the norms agreed upon by your team
  • Listen to what is said, and what is not being said [2]
    • “You can’t change someone’s mind if you don’t know where their mind is”
    • Listen for other parties’ INTERESTS, not just their positions. Identifying and understanding interests means you’ve reached a turning point. [ii][3]
    • Listen to connect, build rapport, and increase trust – “Listening prepares others to listen to us”
      • Listen to and acknowledge uncertainty and fear
      • Don’t over-reassure
      • Ask more of people (share risk)
    • Apply the “traffic light” rule for speaking to keep attention and interest.[iii]
      • Green light: first 20 seconds of talking
      • Yellow light: next 20 seconds
      • Red light: 40-second mark
    • Aim for the “win-win” – a mutual agreement that meets parties’ core interests
      • Communicate and hear their interests – don’t focus on positions
      • Understand where they can give, and where they can’t
      • Understand at what point they’re willing to definitively walk away, and know what you would do if they did
      • Figure out the way to reach a solution that satisfies all parties’ core interests, or to get close – the “win-win”


  • Summarize decisions
  • Provide agreement (may not need to be formal)
  • Summarize next steps
  • Gain commitment (main not need to be formal, e.g. response to email summarizing agreement)

Quick Implementation Guide

Sheet 5: Stp 4 – How (negotiation)

  • How to get to a “win-win” solution for issues where there is disagreement
  • Column B pre-populates from ‘Stp 1 – What (SBAR)’ (Sheet 3), column D (‘Recommendation/Likely Approach’ entered by user)
  • Columns C-F pre-populate from ‘Examples’ (Sheet 1)
  • Columns G-M are entered by user:
    • Blue column headers indicate one party/perspective
    • Pink column headers are user’s guess of other party/perspective
    • Green column header is the negotiated agreement (ideally, the win-win)


[1] Ury, W. “The Power of Listening” TEDx (15.5 min)

[2] Ury, W. “The Power of Listening” TEDx (15.5 min)

[3] Ury, W. “Getting to Yes: Interests vs. Positions” (4 min)

[i] AHRQ TeamSTEPPS Pocket Guide 2.0 ISBN 1-58763-191-1, Revised December 2013, Publication: 14-0001-2, Previous Publication: 06-0020-2

[ii] Ury, William. Getting to Yes

[iii] Bregman, P. Harvard Business Review. “If You Want People to Listen, Stop Talking.”