The Negotiation Matrix

Have you ever wondered how to become a better negotiator? In Ibericus, we use tools on a daily basis that improve our relationship with our clients and coworkers.

The Negotiation Matrix is a useful tool that helps us choose the best negotiation strategy in each situation. This tool, developed by Roy Lewicki and Alexander Hiam in their book called "Mastering Business Negotiation", is based on two main factors: the importance of the outcome and the importance of the relationship in the negotiation.

It is best to use the Negotiation Matrix before you enter negotiations with another person, because, by analyzing your priorities, you can choose the negotiation strategy that is best suited to your particular needs.

Lewicki and Hiam's Negotiation Matrix

Lewicki and Hiam's Negotiation Matrix

There are five negotiation styles depending on the level of the two factors:

1.   Avoiding

When both the outcome and the relationship have low importance, it is not worth getting into a conflict. It is commonly used in emotionally charged situations as a first tactic. So when the counterpart calms down, you can steer them into another negotiation style. It is a way to postpone to win the negotation by driving the situation into a better place.

2.   Accommodating

In this case, the relationship has high importance but the outcome has low priority. You are giving up on short term gains, as your goal is to enhance and preserve the relationhsip, by building trust, so losing in the short term, will help you win in the long term. It is also helpful in situations where you need to delay a bigger negotiation until you have more tools that allow you to support it.

3.   Competing

Opposite as accomodating, the outcome has high importance but the relationship has low importance. This is called Win-Lose situation, often used when both parties have short term goals, and when the counterpart person has no special meaning to you. Having clear goals before getting into competitive negotiations will help you focus on what you need to get out of the situation. Writing down your goals is a good practice, as well as thinking of concessions that you are willing to give up to get what you want.

4.   Collaborating

Opposite as avoiding, collaboration strategy happens when both the outcome and the relationship have high importance. This Win-Win strategy allows both parties to work together to achieve a large reward, by building trust, rapport and create bonds. Reputation plays a big part in how the collaboration efforts will be. Creative problem solving is often used in these win-win situations.

5.   Compromise

Located in the middle of the chart, compromise is often seen when parties cannot find ways to collaborate fully, but when they still want to meet their goals and preserve the relationship. This negotiation style uses strategies from the other four styles. Goal prioritization becomes relevant, as well as understanding the other party’s key interests and concerns. This will show your fairness and empathy, and that you are willing to work to achieve a win for everyone.