Feel like you’re butting your head against a brick wall in a negotiation?

We’ve all been there in negotiations; you want something, they want something else, and you can’t reach an agreement.

A few years ago I was in Mexico with Tony Robbins and Bill Ury. Bill is the author of the international best-selling book on negotiation, Getting to Yes.

Sitting at lunch one day Bill told us a story about how he helped to negotiate the end of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Both sides had their metaphorical fingers on the button, and he knew he had to find common ground to avoid a huge disaster. He determined that neither side wanted and accidental nuclear war, and from this they negotiated peace.

He told me that the key was moving from positions to interests.

A position is a locked-in state of mind; I want this, if I don’t get it I lose, I want to win and I want you to lose.

When both sides take positions, there is no movement.

Interests are the why behind the positions. What is driving someone to take that stance?

When you can figure out someone’s interests, that opens the door to create solutions where everyone wins.