You Always Have A BATNA

Boy, it sure has been a while since my last post. I’ve been buried with schoolwork, GSI teaching, and recruiting. However, I’m beginning to see a light at the end of the tunnel. So here I am, back to my old blogging ways.

In one of my posts last year, I mentioned that I enjoyed taking an Organizational Behavior class with Professor Don Moore and getting constantly tricked into learning. I enjoyed the class so much that I decided to take another class with Don. For Fall B, I am enrolled in Negotiation, a 2-unit course about negotiating good deals.

It’s a very practical course. Every class, students pair up and negotiate with a case-based scenario. Afterwards, everyone debriefs. Sometimes, I am the buyer, charged with securing a product at a certain price under certain conditions. Other times, I am the seller, charged with extracting as much value out of my buyers as possible. Currently, I am in the middle of a four-party email negotiation that’s incredibly gripping.

I find myself becoming a much better negotiator these days. The key I believe is understanding that it’s okay to walk away. In other words, “you always have a BATNA.”

Your BATNA is the Best Alternative To Negotiated Agreement. It is what you are left with if you walk away. For example, if you are deciding between two job offers and are negotiating with company A, your BATNA is the offer from company B. If you are trying to buy a house, your BATNA is to walk away and continue looking at houses. Understanding your BATNA is key to making the right decisions during a negotiation and being happy with your ultimate result.

I’m reading a book calledĀ Negotiation Genius by Deepak Malhotra and Max Bazerman. It’s very easy to read and I recommend it highly.

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