>Creating Win-Win and Enterprise Architecture

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We are all familiar with conflict management and day-to-day negotiations in our everyday leadership role in our organizations, and the key to successful negotiation is creating win-win situations.

In the national bestseller, Getting to Yes, by Fisher and Ury, the authors call out the importance of everyday negotiation and proposes a new type of negotiation called “principled negotiation”.


“Everyone negotiates something every day…negotiation is a basic means of getting what you want from others. It is a back-and-forth communciation designed to reach an agreement when you and the other side have some interests that are shared and others that are opposed. More and more occasions require negotiation. Conflict is a growth industry…whether in business, government, or the family, people reach most decisions through negotiation.”


There are two standard ways to negotiate that involve trading off between getting what you want and getting along with people:


Soft—“the soft negotiator wants to avoid personal conflict and so makes concessions readily in order to reach agreement. He wants an amicable resolution yet he often ends up exploited and feeling bitter.”


Hard—“the hard negotiator sees any situation as a contest of wills in which the side that takes more extreme positions and holds out londer fares better. He want to win yet he often ends up producing an equally hard response which exhausts him and his resources and harms his relationship with the other side.”


The third way to negotiate, developed by the Harvard Negotiation Project, is Principled Negotiation.


Principled Negotiation—“neither hard nor soft, but rather both hard and soft…decide issues on their merits rather than through a haggling process…you look for mutual gains wherever possible, and that where your interests conflict, you should insist that the results be based on some fair standards independent of the will of either side.”


In principled negotiation, the method is based on the following:

  1. People—participants are not friends and not adversaries, but rather problem solvers
  2. Goal—the goal is not agreement or victory, but rather a “wise outcome reached efficiently and amicably”
  3. Stance—your stance is “soft on the people, hard on the problem”
  4. Pressure—you don’t yield or apply pressure, but rather “reason and be open to reasons”
  5. Position—you don’t change your position easily or dig in, but rather you “focus on interests, not positions”
  6. Solution—the optimal solution is win-win; you develop “options for mutual gain”

In User-centric EA, there are many situations that involve negotiation, and using principled negotiation to develop win-win solutions for the participants is critical for developing wise solutions and sustaining important personal relationships.

  • Building and maintaining the EA—first of all, just getting people to participate in the process of sharing information to build and maintain an EA involves negotiation. In fact, the most frequent question from those asked to participate is “what’s in it for me?” So enterprise architects must negotiate with stakeholders to share information and participate and take ownership in the EA initiative.
  • Sound IT governance—second, IT governance, involves negotiating with program sponsors on business and technical alignment and compliance issues. Program sponsors and project managers may perceive enterprise architects as gatekeepers and your review board and submission forms or checklists as a hindrance or obstacle rather than as a true value-add, so negotiation is critical with these program/project managers to enlist their support and participation in the review, recommendation, and decision process and follow-up on relevant findings and recommendations from the governance board.
  • Robust IT planning—third, developing an IT plan involves negotiation with business and technical partners to develop vision, mission, goals, objectives, initiatives, milestones, and measures. Everyone has a stake in the plan and negotiating the plan elements and building consensus is a delicate process.

In negotiating for these important EA deliverables, it’s critical to keep in mind and balance the people and the problem. Winning the points and alienating the people is not a successful long-term strategy. Similarly, keeping your associates as friends and conceding on the issues, will not get the job done. You must develop win-win solutions that solve the issues and which participants feel are objective, fair, and equitable. Therefore, using principled negotiation, being soft on people and hard on the problem is the way to go.

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