Getting Past No

I recently finished reading a book by William Ury, "Getting Past No:  Negotiating in Difficult Situations".  This is not a new book (originally published in 1991), but the subject matter is timeless, and is applicable in all aspects of life.  Although my purpose when I purchased this book had nothing to do with ADHD, I was simultaneously amused and astonished at how much of the material that the author covers is exactly what I figured out in adressing issues with my ADHD spouse when we were having serious problems.

Dr. Ury, an anthropologist affiliated with Harvard University, is also the author of "Getting to Yes" (published in 1981, but which I found was not as helpful when I read it many years ago).  Since the author is a professional and expresses the concepts of effective negotiation in difficult situations much better than I would (or have in my posts), I felt it would be worthwhile to recommend "Getting Past No" for the benefit of the readership here.  The book presents a five-step approach to negotiation which I would summarize as follows:

  • Suspend your natural reactions and step back to an objective perspective
  • Defuse the other party's negative emotions by "stepping to their side"
  • Reframe the problem in cooperative terms
  • Help the other party see whatever solution you agree upon as a victory
  • If necessary, educate the other party to help them see that this victory can only be achieved in cooperation with you

The end result of getting past no is that adversaries are turned into partners -- and isn't that what most of us here are trying to achieve???

The book gives specific examples and suggestions about possible ways to tackle each step.  It's written for a general audience, in a clear and straightforward style, and there is an appendix at the end to help you prepare for using this approach.

While I would recommend this five-step strategy to *both* the ADHD or non-ADHD spouse, I know from personal experience that it can still work even if only one party uses this plan.  I'll grant that it may not be easy!  But for us it was definitely effective.