We’ve dug deep into my concepts of Clarity, Detachment, and Equilibrium. They are in large part a result of having done the toughest inner-work in our development into an Authentic Negotiator, but mastering CDE doesn’t conclude the work of Authentic Negotiating. To be truly effective, we need a framework upon which we can apply our CDE. Clarity without a grounding, pragmatic end point isn’t advantageous.

How can we reliably put these skills into practice?

The CPR—Context, Purpose, and Results—framework is the most effective tool to apply CDE in negotiations and to access the essential, authentic answers we need to get from ourselves to succeed in any negotiation. Like most of my teachings, I find that they are most accurately expressed using real world examples and how they have guided me through difficult negotiations.

In this example, I was representing a team of multibillion-dollar clients in a service industry. A deal they’d made to affiliate with another organization years ago had gone sour and my clients wanted out. Seems simple enough, right? The problem was that my clients didn’t have solid legal footing. According to the terms of their agreement, they had given up rights to ownership of their client base. If they left, they couldn’t solicit their clients to come with them.

Theirs was a difficult situation with a lot of potentially volatile factors at play. Though, we did have some leverage. Much of their business was handled via individual relationships, and the connection their clients had to the broader institution was tertiary. There were also breach of contract issues on the part of their clients that could play a role. Adding force to these claims was that my clients felt they had been duped and that the company they moved to hadn’t held up their end of the agreement.

The two leads who I represented most closely were Lenny and Gina. Lenny was especially angry and in danger of letting that anger compromise our objectives. It was imperative that I find a way to get through to Lenny and guide Gina and him through a successful negotiation, but how?

Well, this mission in itself was a negotiation between me and Lenny, so I applied my CDE and communicated to both Gina and him through the CPR framework. Lenny just wanted to clobber these guys; he had more or less moved past a point of actual negotiation and was ready for a street fight—and guaranteed failure. I calmly explained that we needed to get clear on our objectives, and clarify our motives—why are we even at the negotiating table? What, in short, was our Purpose? To get there, I questioned Lenny’s Context.

Lenny needed to be the one to articulate his Context, and own the words. What he revealed to himself was that he was coming from a terribly negative, pessimistic place, one that had turned the opponents into veritable boogeymen with whom no positive outcome could be possible. Lenny’s Context was conceding his objectives before we even got started.   

I pointed this out and asked, with that Context in mind, what did  Lenny and Gina think were their chance of a successful negotiation? Gina jumped right in and admitted that it was not good. Despite his agreement, Lenny went off again.

I stopped him. Lenny had to make a choice. Did he want to be right, or did he want to be effective and successful? I told him, “If you want to be successful, then you need to give up being right. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t truth in what you are saying, it just means that holding that energy and focus will not be productive.”

“Okay, I get it,” he said. “I’m listening.”

There’s a reason the word “work” comes up a lot when I talk about Authentic Negotiating. It’s because the inner-work and personal development should be ongoing, always. I’m still finding new ways to hone my CDE skills and different approaches to apply it to my CPR framework. If you’re ready to start the work of becoming and Authentic Negotiator, take my Authentic Negotiating Success Quiz to see what lies ahead.