Business Negotiation June 1, 2015

The Reagan Keeping Track and Summarization Approach

We can learn something about keeping track from President Ronald Reagan. Years before he was president, as governor of California, Mr. Reagan was called upon to settle a labor dispute between the bus drivers and the City of Los Angeles. A possible strike threatened to bring the city to a halt.

Reagan, then aiming for the presidency, flew to Los Angeles with great fanfare from television and the press. The Los Angeles Times reported that what he did was relatively simple: Reagan began by tracking the talks like a bookkeeper.

First he listed the issues agreed upon and the concessions made by both sides. Next he grouped the issues discussed but still open where the gap between them had been narrowed but not closed. Then he laid out remaining matters still in disagreement but not yet discussed. These he prioritized from easiest to most difficult.

By repeatedly tracking and summarizing the status of the talks Reagan brought clarity to a complicated situation. Writing down settled and unsettled issues as well as recapitulating concessions exchanged served to focus on how much had been accomplished and how far the gap between them had narrowed. He did this again and again as talks went on. Tension diminished. Settlement followed not long after.

I have seen strange things happen in the heat of negotiation. I have seen bargainers make concessions that exceeded the demands of the other where the overlap went unnoticed until later when someone expressed confusion as to how much had really been agreed to. I have been to sessions when the negotiators shook hands in agreement only to learn soon after that they had settled on different amounts or terms than thought. Concessions given or accepted early in the day are often forgotten or remembered differently at noon, at the end of the day or the following morning.

Keep track and review progress frequently. It helps both sides to listen and hear in a more focused manner. It moves the desired agreement along in a less chaotic, better-understood direction.

THE PROGRAM WAS GREAT! MY SEMINAR LEADER AND THE STRUCTURE OF THE COURSE KEPT ME CONSTANTLY STIMULATED. I NOW AM BETTER PREPARED TO GO INTO AN IMPORTANT NEGOTIATION MEETING AND STAY IN CONTROL, WHILE FINISHING THE MEETING SATISFIED.

Deanna D.
CASE MANAGER at THE JACKSON LABORATORY

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Jeff G.
BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER at THE M.K. MORSE COMPANY

EXCELLENT COURSE, BRINGS MORE CONFIDENCE IN MY ABILITY TO NEGOTIATE. I THINK THIS COURSE IS A MUST FOR ALL EMPLOYEES WHO DEAL WITH CUSTOMERS.

John S.
CHIEF ENGINEERING MANAGER at EXXONMOBIL

THIS WAS VERY EFFECTIVE WITH A STRONG FOCUS ON BOTH-WIN NEGOTIATING.

Kathleen L.
SENIOR ANALYST at BLUE CROSS/BLUE SHIELD OF MICHIGAN

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Kim C.
PROCUREMENT at AMERICAN EXPRESS

THIS PROGRAM HAS GREATLY INCREASED MY CONFIDENCE AND ABILITY TO NEGOTIATE FOR MYSELF AS WELL AS MY COMPANY.

LaDonna E.
SENIOR STRATEGIC BUYER at HALLMARK

THE NEGOTIATING CLASS WAS VERY INFORMATIVE. THE INSTRUCTOR PROVIDED AN INSPIRATIONAL MESSAGE THAT CAN BE APPLIED TO EVERYDAY LIFE.

Mary S.
INTERNATIONAL SOURCING at FMC TECHNOLOGIES

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Phillip H.
VICE PRESIDENT at GE

PRIOR TO THIS CLASS I FELT AS THOUGH I WAS GETTING EATEN ALIVE BY INTERNAL NEGOTIATIONS WITH SALES REPS. NOW I FEEL PREPARED TO CHALLENGE WHAT THEY ARE SAYING AND BET TO THEIR REAL NEEDS.

Steve Q.
PLANNER at HONEYWELL

MANY PEOPLE FAIL TO ACHIEVE THEIR POTENTIAL BECAUSE THEY DON’T SEE THE OPPORTUNITIES TO NEGOTIATE A WIN/WIN AGREEMENT WITH THEIR COLLEAGUES. THIS CLASS IS AN EYE OPENER TO THIS DYNAMIC..

Stuart B.
CONTRACTS MANAGER at HEWLETT-PACKARD
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