Life is a series of negotiations. You may not think of yourself as "a negotiator," but you negotiate all the time. From seemingly insignificant daily decisions to major life choices, you negotiate every time you try to make plans, reach consensus, aim to persuade, or resolve disagreements. If you're like most people, you don't always like the result: You end up wrongly paying for the bathroom tiles; your child is in tears over his cereal bowl; you blow a major contract. Other times, the result is fine, but how you got there doesn't feel fair. In fifteen years of teaching negotiation at Harvard Law School and training thousands of people around the world how to transform conflict, Fox had a revelation about negotiation and human nature: The most important negotiations we have-the ones that determine the impact of our actions and the quality of our lives-are the negotiations we have with ourselves. Offering insight into how we get in our own way and what to do about it, It Starts with You features a map and a method for negotiating from the inside out. By better understanding yourself and the common traps you frequently fall into, you'll learn how to turn breakdowns into breakthroughs, whether you're struggling with a difficult client or arguing with your teenaged son. At the end of the day, what makes the difference in successful negotiations lives inside of us. The key to a desirable outcome is to undertake a negotiation within ourselves. Yes, we can learn to say and do helpful things. But ultimately the ability to achieve mastery over how we interact with each other comes from a place deep within-from a place Fox has come to call our "center." When we lead our lives from this center, we are mindfully aware of our reactions and choices. The actions we then take - drawing on the muscles and strengths in our core -- produce better results, stronger relationships, and more of life's deeper rewards. Embraced by such international organizations as the World Bank, DuPont, and McKinsey and Company, It Starts with You offers a five-step method for overcoming the biggest challenge in every negotiation: closing the gap between what people know they should say and what they actually do in practice. Fox calls this the "Performance Gap." We may have studied the most advanced negotiation practices and read all the leadership books, and still we find ourselves falling into familiar traps when conversations become challenging. Why? Because we need to learn to negotiate with ourselves before sitting down at the table with others. Then we can get what we want and feel good about the result.
ERICA ARIEL FOX's work explores the personal, spiritual, and deeply human aspects of negotiation and leadership. She has taught negotiation as a faculty member at Harvard Law School since 1996; is the President of Mobius Executive Leadership, a global consulting firm she co-founded in 2005; and is founder of the Harvard Negotiation Insight Initiative (HNII) at the Harvard Program on Negotiation (PON), now known as the Global Network for Negotiation Insight and Exchange (GNNIE, pronounced "genie"), an independent, virtual, global network of like-minded professionals. At GNNIE, Fox chairs the leadership council and co-chairs a project called Beyond Yes for the Common Good. Fox is part of the Core Faculty for the American Institute of Mediation, and on the Board of the Harvard Mediation Program. She received her undergraduate degree from Princeton University and her law degree from Harvard Law School.
"As a colleague, I've watched Erica develop groundbreaking work over many years at Harvard Law School. She is the right person at the right time to offer a new, more integrated, model of negotiation for people practicing leadership in business, in government and in non-profit organizations."--Ronald A. Heifetz, co-founder of the Center for Public Leadership at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University; author of "Leadership Without Easy Answers" and "Leadership on the Line"