Episode #875 William Ury: Getting to Yes with Yourself

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Moe and William Ury talk about why we can't expect to get to yes with others if we haven’t first gotten to yes with ourselves.


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William Ury

Co-founder Harvard's Program on Negotiation View Full Profile

Getting to Yes with Yourself

No more essential skill will be critical to your business prosperity and personal happiness than the ability to negotiate.  Like it or not, you’re a negotiator — and you do it numerous times each day.  Whether it’s the simple negotiation about where to eat and what to wear, or the stressful ones that could determine your fate, or the fate of an entire nation, the ability to approach conflict with clarity, a level head and a healthy respect for the other party is a rare discipline that few have mastered.  

In 1990, as I was developing as a young sales manager, I stumbled upon Roger Fisher and William Ury’s book, Getting To Yes, and little did I know that it would become a treasure of forethought for me.  Eager to teach my financial representatives how the pros did it, I made it required reading for our team, and eventually the cornerstone of our sales approach.  We learned never to seek position power, to always separate the individual from the problem, to focus on interests and invent options for mutual gain, and to insist on using an objective criteria to evaluate each opportunity.  It was the blueprint that not only fueled our team’s sense of confidence, but the tool that helped us attract A-level talent.

Having successfully orchestrated thousands of high stake negotiations, Bill Ury has built an enviable track record of negotiating prowess; still he sensed that something remain missing in his approach.  So, as most wise individuals do, he searched inside himself for the answer, and he discovered that ‘the greatest obstacle to getting what you really want in life is not the other party, as difficult as he or she can be.  The biggest obstacle is actually ourselves.’  So, his latest book, Getting to Yes with Yourself: (and Other Worthy Opponents) outlines the six principles that will help you become your own best ally.  

Here are the questions that guide our conversation:  

  • What the best negotiators do

  • The structure and flow of the initial meeting

  • How and when to ‘go to the balcony’

  • The correlation between negotiating prowess and self-worth

  • The six principles of “Getting to Yes with Yourself”

  • What to do when the other party is irrational

  • The three most important wins