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  • Posts Tagged ‘negotiation’

    How did Trump Win the Presidency?: By Thinking Like a Negotiator (Lessons

    November 18th, 2016  by  Asia-Pacific Global Research Group - Jasper Kim

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    In ancient Greece—the genesis of Western civilization and thinking—the Greek goddess Athena was known to be the securer of “victory.” She also awarded the dealmakers that brought forth victory. In Oresteia, the Greek goddess Athena proclaims, “I admire…the eyes of persuasion.”
     
    Viewed from an apolitical lens, the Greek goddess would have certainly admired the persuasion, tactics and strategy underlying Donald Trump’s US presidential bid that brought forth an unlikely victory.
     
    To Trump’s supporters, comprised of a diverse voting group including both rich and poor, his victory was an affirmation of Trump’s call to arms against political elites and the perception that America could be great again. To Trump’s critics, his victory was a complete and utter shock that seemed to defy all odds.
     
    To some political pundits and so-called political experts—many who belittled, criticized and grossly underestimated Trump at every turn–it became clear that they needed an update. Their expert predictions and assumptions were outdated and antiquated, advising that future elections should be similar to past elections in terms of tone and rhetoric.
     
    But meanwhile, while these so-called experts were sleeping, the world became flat and hyper-connected due to unforeseen technological tectonic shifts. In the advent of today’s “super-social” era–in which communication is dominated by 140 crafted characters through platforms such as Twitter and Facebook—such weathered expert experience ultimately translated into a net liability, rather than an asset.
     
    So how did Trump win the US presidency? By thinking like a negotiator.
     
    This then begs the question: What exactly is a “negotiation”? According to the Harvard Negotiation Project, a negotiation is defined as “Getting what you want.”
     
    Trump is a self-proclaimed negotiator and dealmaker. He has authored books such as The Art of the Deal, while proclaiming in a recent interview that, “Everything’s negotiable.”
     
    As such, during Trump’s campaign, he was in constant negotiations—with the Republican Party, Democratic Party, the media, and the voting public—to get what he wanted. At each level, Trump was waging a “David versus Goliath” negotiation war, from his purview, in which each and all of these “negotiation opponents” were, at one point or another, against him.
     
    Think for a moment what Trump’s victory, a high-stakes negotiation game, entailed. Since 1988, apart from the current president, the political landscape was dominated by just two family names: Clinton and Bush.
     
    Trump—a political newcomer, but not one with negotiation naiveté–slayed both family dragons in the course of a single election cycle.
     
    Should you be worried or concerned that Trump is now President-elect Trump, given his tone and rhetoric on the campaign trail?
     
    Again, some so-called experts will provide a simple binary analysis for simple minds—a flat yes, that he is the precipice to a new era of an isolated America (rather than a continued era of Pax Americana)—or a flat no, that he will be the savior that America needs in a dangerous world.
     
    But a third, more nuanced and honest answer exists. We simply do not yet have enough information to give a credible answer. What type of information should we be waiting for then? Actual “evidence” in the form of tangible policy action once Trump is sworn in as the forty-fifth US president. Maybe Trump will be great, maybe not. But much like a courtroom, you would not want a judgment about you made against you before the evidence has been thoughtfully and impartially adjudicated.
     
    And what about all of Trump’s seemingly fiery campaign statements? As savvy negotiators know, first statements are often mere first offers.
     
    Trump views everything through a negotiation and dealmaking lens. This will have implications in the US and other regions, including in Asia.
     
    How will a President Trump deal with North Korea’s regime? It looks like Trump would not be completely adverse to face-to-face negotiations with Kim Jong-Un. After all, in any negotiation, to get what you want, you have to know what the other side wants.
     
    How will a President Trump deal with Beijing when it comes to trade? Hopefully, a President Trump will understand the basic negotiation lesson in a tit-for-tat (TFT) negotiation, which often leads to a lose-lose scenario involving mutually-assured destruction (MAD). In such a prisoner’s dilemma scenario, it often benefits both sides to cooperate rather than compete.
     
    As former US President John F. Kennedy famously proclaimed, “Let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate.”

     
     
     
    If interested in how Asia-Pacific Global Research Group’s consultancy and training expertise can help your organization, CONTACT US HERE.
     
     
     

    Negotiating with Powerful Parties: 5 Strategies

    December 23rd, 2015  by  Asia-Pacific Global Research Group - Jasper Kim

    powerbalance
     
    The recent and original Star Wars trilogies involve an epic clash between good and evil. Within the context of the Star Wars story line, a small rebel alliance was pitted against a seemingly much larger galactic Empire (The First Order, in the recent plot line of The Force Awakens).
     
    Such epic clash may appear like the concoction of science fiction rather than a real world scenario. But this is not exactly true.
     
    Switch the Empire/First Order with a larger competitor/superpower. Then switch the Rebellion/Resistance with a smaller start-up/organization/non-superpower. Now things become all the more real with very real and practical implications.
     
    This then raises the question: What is the best negotiation strategy for dealing with a seemingly larger and more powerful counterparty?
     
    Below are five (5) strategies supported by practitioner perspectives, but also academic studies:
     
     
    1. IS YOUR COUNTERPARTY REALLY MORE POWERFUL?
     
    Your foe may seemingly appear larger and thus more powerful. But it’s important to note that larger is not more powerful in every contextual situation.
     
    The benefit of being a larger entity is often a general association with more resources–along with greater scale and scope (i.e., domestic or global footprint/presence). But in certain situations, being large can have its distinct disadvantages. Such disadvantages can at times outweigh the advantages of being a larger entity. For example, a behemoth company may be overly diversified, with its resources spread out overly thin, domestically and globally.
     
    Think: The Roman Empire. The reason for the Roman Empire’s implosion—seemingly at the very pinnacle of its power–was ironically due to its string of prior successes (of conquering people, land, and resources). The Roman Empire was simply too large to succeed. In the current era where technology and being nimble is a strategic advantage, being too large is arguably now a sine quo non to stress-testing, collateral damage, or outright collapse of a larger entity or foe.
     
    Much like the Roman Empire, the Empire (First Order) appears like a foe that can easily defeat the Rebellion (Resistance). But as we see in the Star Wars mythology, a smaller often ill-equipped band of unlikely heroes can prevail over a larger more organized and well-equipped foe.
     
     
    2. IS YOUR COUNTERPARTY WILLING TO USE ITS POWER?
     
    A key strategic question is will your counterparty understand and actually use its power? First, does your foe understand its actual power? You may believe this is to be a given. But it is worthwhile to stress-test this working assumption. For example, even just prior to the U.S.’s delayed entry into World War II, it was arguably uncertain from not just America’s perspective, but its other Allies as well as its enemies, just how powerful America’s entry would impact the outcome of the war. In hindsight, it was a game changer. At the time, it was not so certain.
     
    Second, is your negotiation counterparty actually willing to use its power against you? It’s important to note that the question to ask is definitively stated one, without the ambiguous “may” or “could” wording that clouds a clear strategic analysis. The answer should be a definitive and categorical yes or no, based on the best available imperfect information attainable (at the time, and of course, given the circumstances).
     
    For example, regarding the Korean peninsula, a key question would be: Is North Korea actually willing to use its nuclear weapons against its enemies (above and beyond mere saber rattling)?
     
    In the lighter context of the Star Wars trilogies, the key question would be: Is Darth Vader willing to use the Death Star to destroy planets (and stars)? The answer in A New Hope (Episode IV) was an emphatic yes, as demonstrated when the Death Star used its laser weapons capability to destroy Alderaan, the home planet of Princess Leia (who was then being held captive by the Empire to solicit information about the whereabouts and plans of the Rebel Alliance). Similarly, in The Force Awakens, the First Order Star Destroyer’s “Catapult” superweapon was in fact used to destroy many lives (above and beyond the mere appearance of having such power).
     
     
    3. TAKE PRE-EMPTIVE STRATEGIC STEPS
     
    Take strategic steps to maximize the likelihood of your success. As Sun Tzu claimed, “Every battle is won before it is ever fought.”
     
    If you’re the smaller party, fighting a battle in the traditional sense is a game that will often be geared against you than in support of you (i.e., pivoted towards a loss than a gain). Thus, strategically, you should seek to delay, divert, or dispense of the need for battle with your larger counterparty.
     
    Strategically, understand what is your GPS (Game rules, Payouts/Penalties, Strategy) vis-à-vis your opponent. Next, step into the shoes of your foe to calculate the other side’s GPS. In doing this, assign a person to play the role of your adversary foe. This will help clarify and extend the relative perspectives of both sides in terms of positions (what you/foe want) and interests (why you/foe want such positions). This in turn will help clarify your negotiation strategy analysis.
     
    Next map out a “decision tree” of possible best next steps, with assigned probabilities. For example, let’s say you are a small Silicon Valley start-up about to negotiate with Google (a tech titan). Further along in this simplified hypothetical, let’s say you then consider, calculate, and then ultimately conclude that the possible decision tree possible outcomes could be (1) majority buy-out (30% probability); (2) minority investment (35% probability); and (3) no agreement (35% probability). As before, this is calculated on the best available imperfect information at the time.
     
    In Star Wars: A New Hope and The Force Awakens, the smaller renegade group of rebel fighters determine that their GPS would be to counter-attack the Death Star (Star Destroyer).
     
     
    4. USE INFORMATION STRATEGICALLY FOR TACTICAL ADVANTAGE
     
    Negotiation is an “information game.” If you have a competitive advantage in information, the game pivots more towards a win for you (or your team/organization/country).
     
    But where do you get information about your negotiation counterpart? First, seek information from publicly available information (Google, public filings, the press, news articles, etc.). Second, seek information from your foe’s other counterparties, enemies, and even friends. Specifically, find out who they are, then reach out and make strategic contact with them. You can be honest and say that you are making contact merely to get information on how to best work with a particular entity with which the person who has been contacted has had prior dealings. Third, for all remaining data, seek information directly from your counterparty (through a separate but related negotiation communication strategy).
     
    In The Empire Strikes Back (Episode V), Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) could have solicited information about the Empire from Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams). Lando, as mayor of Cloud City, had prior dealings with the Empire, who stayed strategically neutral until Han and Leia’s unexpected arrival to Cloud City sufficiently incentivized Lando to betray Han and Leia (however, Lando then later betrays the Empire by subsequently helping Leia, Luke, Chewbacca, C-3PO, and R2-D2 to escape along with Han Solo in frozen carbonate form).
     
     
    5. KNOW YOUR “WALKAWAY POINT”
     
    What is your “walkaway point”? This is your negotiation decision matrix anchor—based on your personal metrics (i.e., money, emotion, pride, nationalism, etc.). Knowing this information, you will know the general limits and boundaries of your “yesable” negotiation range. Without knowing this information, you will conversely not know the general limits and boundaries of your “yesable” negotiation range. This in turn will increase the likelihood of you not knowing what you ultimately don’t want (as well as what you do want in your dealings with your counterparty opponent). This is a very dangerous position to put yourself or your organization–especially when such risk can be mitigated through this suggested strategic approach.
     
    For example, in the 1990s, when Microsoft was being investigated by the Department of Justice for alleged antitrust behavior at the time, Microsoft’s management team should have considered whether it would allow Microsoft to be broken up into smaller independent entities onshore if legally compelled to do so, similar to the case of the Baby Bells previously. Or alternatively, would this be beyond its walkaway point, compelling Microsoft to consider other alternatives, such as moving some or all of its offices offshore to other countries? Knowing such valuable walkaway points is not just useful, it is absolutely critical.
     
    In Star Wars: A New Hope (Episode IV), Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness) determined that his walkaway point for an impending and epic light saber duel with Darth Vader would be the ultimate sacrifice of his own physical body (although he would continue to exist in non-physical form through the Power of the Force).
     
    In summary, these are five (5) concise strategies (of many more that can be utilized), which are easy to implement and extremely value-added.
     
    These strategies have proven to be the difference maker when it comes to negotiating with larger and seemingly more powerful counterparties.
     
     
     
    Sources: Kim, Jasper (2015); Adler, R. S. & Silverstein, E. M. (2000).

     
     
     
    If interested in how Asia-Pacific Global Research Group’s consultancy and training expertise can help your organization, CONTACT US HERE.
     
     
     

    Can Koreans Negotiate?: A Walk Through a Non-Negotiated Life

    May 9th, 2014  by  Asia-Pacific Global Research Group - Jasper Kim

    North-Korea-U-N-Sanctions-and-a-Nuclear-Threat-450x337
     
    For those who have tried to “negotiate” with South Koreans, you may have noticed a “Socrates vs. Confucius” gap. This gap starts with a potential gap in mindset in which those who think from a Western mindset (Socratic-based) go head-to-head with those who think from an Asian mindset (Confucian-based). Rather than subjectively placing a judgment value in terms of which system is better, this Asia-Pacific Global Research blog instead takes a more objective approach by giving a glimpse into how the Asian Confucian-based negotiator may negotiate the way he or she does at the bargaining table.
     
    Understanding and stepping into the shoes of the other side is the first step towards a more collaborative interest-based negotiated outcome and solution.
     
    First, let’s take a look at the typical Korean. From day one, it is not uncommon for a Korean to be raised by parents typically (but not always) set in a strict vertically-based structure, in which one dominant parent, usually (but not always) the father, effectively lays down the law of the land in the household. In this structure, the Korean youth is told, not asked, what to do. This goes from small things like what to eat, to bigger ticket items like what to study, who to date, and when to go home. If the Korean child questions what the parent has to say, this is interpreted as a very bad, not good thing. For example, if the young Korean is told to eat everything on his plate for dinner before getting dessert by her parent, a “no” answer will be construed as a potential sign of betrayal against a superior. Such acts is viewed as one of the more shameful acts in Korean society, in which obedience and trust is a virtue, while being branded with a betrayal mark is tantamount to a “scarlet letter” and later societal banishment, known in Korean society as wang-dah. This of course stems from the Confucian influence that still so very much permeates this society in certain areas.
     
    Further, the Korean youth will only exceptionally be asked the question “why?” either by his or her parents, friends, teachers, or working colleagues. This is again based on the Korean social, academic, and working structures sharing one commonality: they are all vertical top-down, command-and-control based operating structures. This is a very important missing factor in terms of why Koreans are not instinctual negotiators.
     
    The Korean as a young person will rarely question a parent. Doing so, may at times lead to harsh ramifications, both verbally and at times physically. The Korean child will also rarely have a chance to negotiate with friends. This is because the Korean friendship structure is primarily also a top-down command-and-control structure based on those with seniority (sunbae) and those who are junior (hubae). The only rare exception to the general rule is with the small band of friends in the same class year (dong-gap). But again, outside of this tiny zone, the friendship structure is vertically-based.
     
    Once the Korean enters school, the Korean student enters yet another vertical structure in which negotiation is seen as near-betrayal and disloyalty. This is because the typical Korean classroom is another vertically-based top-down structure in which the teacher lays down the law of the land, that is the course lecture, in his or her ruling domain (i.e., the classroom). A student usually never dare asks “why?” or even offers a different opinion to the instructor for fear of retorsion (i.e., social backlash in the form of being given the wang-dah banishment treatment), or worse yet, a less-than-exemplary grade from his or her teacher. This links to the hyper-competition in Korean primary schools to enter the so-called elite universities, in which failure to do so, can lead to a “scarlet letter” branding in the form of being a social and economic outcast by future prospective companies and even marriage partners. In other words, the Koreans love and need the brand names in just about everything.
     
    Finally, after graduation, the Korean employee enters yet another vertically-based, question-not structure when entering into a domestic working structure. The top person is the company CEO, who in essence plays the role of strong military general commanding orders to be executed without question by his or her subordinates. If you step into most domestic working environments, it often somewhat resembles a military operation, with field operations led by colonels (team managers, or teem-jang) surrounded by his field officers (jeek-won). Much like in the military, questioning any command, or counter-offering any command, will very likely lead to a wang-dah treatment so harsh that such person may have difficulty finding employment again.
     
    Because of this, negotiation is never seen as a value-added skillset. In fact, for the Koreans, it is usually never a factor because no one applies it. And when it is needed, say in a FTA-type negotiation, it is new and thus viewed as an “all-or-nothing,” “black or white,” “your win is my loss” vertical proposition akin to outright warfare. This mentality is what it is because the Koreans have been living in it all their lives, for better or for worse. The notion of compromise (tah-hyup) is often construed as a weakness, rather than creative problem-solving, which will usually not be viewed favorably by one’s commander-in-chief albeit in the private or public sector here in Korea.
     
    In contrast, the American structure is relatively horizontal and flat, compared to the Korean vertical structure. Strange for the Koreans, many American parents will indirectly, and often unknowingly, begin the informal negotiation training from day one. For example, if the American child is told to eat everything on his or her plate before getting dessert, the child can often negotiate by saying something like “Well, if I eat all my tomatoes, but not the entire salad, can I then eat dessert?” And sometimes, the parent will accept this, not viewing it as a sign of disobedience or disloyalty.
     
    Entering school, the American student will often question if not challenge his or her instructor. Certainly, the question “why?” from student to teacher is not seen as academic disobedience, but often, an academic duty. This is reinforced by a barrage of assignments, which tests such ability to question, such as the requirement to write critical essays. Such tasks require the student to think independently, question authority, and then come to a personal conclusion based on the evidence. In other words, the American student is provided positive reinforcement if he or she can be rational rather than emotional. In Korea, this rational approach is at times seen as a cold, calculating and detached process, counter to their basic instincts.
     
    Finally, entering the workplace, the American enters a structure that is also relatively flat and horizontal. Although some hierarchy and reporting lines exist on paper, in effect, based on the need to maximize value in each fiscal quarter, each employee is expected to be proactive, which includes the acceptance of suggestions to question and improve existing structures and methods. When an American worker is given a task by another team member, asking “why” is not a bad thing. In fact, not asking “why” may be viewed as inappropriate inaction. And forging a solution to problems, which incorporates brainstorming and suggestions from many ranks, is one reason why American corporations seem to claw their way back from a bad corner. Most recently, this was seen in the 1980s and early 1990s when many held the view that the Japanese would dominate the United States economically. But as we know, this turned out not to be the case, and thus emerged a new breed of American companies like Yahoo, Amazon, and Google.
     
    In other words, from day one, the Americans see most (but not all) things as potentially negotiable, in stark contrast to the Koreans. For this reason, yes, Koreans can negotiate, but many can find it unusual and awkward, and as such, do it grudgingly.
     

     
     
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    Socrates v. Confucius: How Asians and Westerners Use a Different “Negotiator Lens”

    August 27th, 2013  by  Asia-Pacific Global Research Group - Jasper Kim

    Socrates v. Confucius: What a Difference a Culture Makes–and How it Shapes East-West Negotiators
     
    The Western (Socratic-based) Negotiator Lens:
     
    Many negotiators from the West were raised in an individual-based environment, which is relatively “flat” compared to many collective-based “vertical” social structures. Strange from the perspective of many Confucian, collective-based societies, many parents from individual-based groups will indirectly, and often unknowingly, begin the informal negotiation training from a very early age. This reflects the Socratic approach to teaching, which is much more prevalent in individual-based societies than collective-based societies, and is reinforced by a barrage of assignments, which tests the ability to question, such as the requirement to write critical essays. Such tasks require the person (and future negotiator) to think independently, question assumptions, and then come to a personal conclusion based on the evidence. In other words, a person in this type of Socratic-based “flat” environment reinforces the use of rationality over emotion.
     
    The Asian (Confucian-based) Negotiator Lens:
     
    in many collective-based negotiation settings, this rationale approach is at times seen as a cold, calculating and detached process, counter to their basic instincts and training. In stark contrast, the typical collective-based individual is raised by parents typically (but not always) set in a strict vertically based structure, in which dominant parent figures effectively lay down the “law of the land” in the household. The collective-based future negotiator, as a young person, is usually told, not asked, what to do. This goes from small things like what to eat, to bigger-ticket items like what to study, who to date, and when to go home. If the child in such Confucian-based structure questions what the parent says, this is interpreted as a very egregious act.
     
    Such an act is viewed as one of the more shameful in a collective-based society, in which obedience and trust is a virtue, while being branded with a betrayal mark is tantamount to a “scarlet letter” and later societal banishment (known in Korean society as wangda (왕따) and in Japanese society as murahachibu). The collective-based Confucius friendship structure is primarily also a top-down, command-and-control structure based on those with seniority (선배, sunbae in Korean, senpai in Japanese) and those who are junior (후배, hubae in Korean, kohai in Japanese). The only rare exception to the general rule is with the small band of friends in the same class year (동갑, dong-gahp in Korean). In short, the collective-based social, academic, and working structures share one commonality – they are all vertically-based top-down operating structures. This is a very important missing factor in terms of why many collective-based groups are not instinctual negotiators. For this reason, yes of course, the collective-based negotiators can negotiate, but they find it unusual and awkward, and often do it grudgingly.
     
     
     
     
    This blog is a partial excerpt from the published academic article, Mitigating Partisan Perceptions between Individual and Collective-based Groups (by Jasper Kim, International Studies Review, 2009)
     

    REPIVOT strategic negotiation framework: the easy way to sway

    March 7th, 2013  by  Asia-Pacific Global Research Group - Jasper Kim

    REPIVOT strategic negotiation framework:
     
    For those interested in maximizing bargaining outcomes, the REPIVOT strategic negotiation framework (created by Jasper Kim) is recommended as a starting point in negotiation scenarios. The REPIVOT strategy can be leveraged to create value as well as mitigate negotiator’s remorse and tit-for-tat (TFT), lose-lose scenarios at the institutional, state, or individual level.
     
    Specifically, REPIVOT is a function of:
    Relationships: assessing how to create short and/or long-term value-added relationships
    Emotions: understanding how emotions act as “invisible influencers” when negotiating
    Positions: positions (price, quantity, time) are a small but highly “visible influencer”
    Interests: interests (often invisible) are the rationale for the party’s position (which are subdivided into shared, conflicting, and complementary interests)
    Values: values are both subjective and objective possibly different from your own
    Options: collaborating and brainstorming with the other side(s) for mutual gain
    Trust: creating sway, influence, and persuasion to get others to “want what you want”
     
    Each of the REPIVOT input factors are based on a database consisting of scientific research and findings from the world’s leading experts, journals, and studies in a cross-border, cross-disciplinary perspective, including psychology, law, economics, biology, sociology, and business, among others.
     
    The value (economic and non-economic) created by the REPIVOT framework should be weighed against one’s BATNA (best alternative to a negotiated agreement).
     
    REPIVOT CALCULUS:
    – If REPIVOT value (opportunity 2) > BATNA value (opportunity 1), say “yes” to the 2nd opportunity
    – If REPIVOT value (opportunity 2) < BATNA value (opportunity 1), say "no" to the 2nd opportunity   The REPIVOT strategic negotiation framework is copyrighted by Jasper Kim and the Asia-Pacific Global Research Group.   For related consultation workshops and/or negotiation services, please contact the Asia-Pacific Global Research Group.