The Transformative Negotiator

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What is Transformative Negotiation?

The definition of negotiation comes from the Latin roots neg and otium, not + leisure, and means to carry on business, or to formally discuss with the intention of coming to agreement (usually in the context of business). My definition starts with communication with another for the purpose of modifying his or her behavior to satisfy your wants or needs (and your partner’s). But it doesn’t end there.

Transformative negotiation is about connection: connecting with yourself, with your partner, and with the universe.

Negotiation happens in every realm of life, including leisure. The one requirement is that it happen in relationship. And while we have moved away from the distributive (positional or hard-bargain, win-lose) to the integrative (interest-based, win-win) model, we haven’t gone nearly far enough. Transformative Negotiation is more than just two or more persons locked in battle, bargaining for material transfer; it also involves energetic transfers that rely on, and necessarily affect, the world’s energy. Transformative Negotiation is not just about solving the parties’ immediate problem; it involves crafting a solution that leaves the parties materially and spiritually healthy and whole. Transformative Negotiation goes beyond win-win, a box that preserves “duality” and “gamesmanship” as the status quo, and beyond getting to yes, a system that ignores the value of no.

Transformative Negotiation harvests the power of connection and universal energy in shaping how we come to agreement. In this holistic practice, we understand as much about our negotiating partner’s motivations as we do our own, we acknowledge our biases, judgments, and attachments, and recognize the same in our partner. Winning is irrelevant, and yes may not be the answer. The Transformative Negotiator is connected, prepared, able to detach from outcomes and emotions, and above all, mindful.

As we move in this direction, we reconnect negotiation with its spiritual root, the importance who we are and why we are negotiating, rather than solely on what we want or need.

“A concise and pleasurable read, The Transformative Negotiator takes the well-known basic tenets of negotiation and goes beyond to showcase the importance of connection in successful negotiations. Drawing on historical examples and her personal experience, Huff creates a book that, along with a sprinkling of realistic exercises throughout, will push your awareness of self and your ability to negotiate successfully to the next level.”

Michael B. Horn

Author, Blended: Using Disruptive Innovation to Improve Schools. Co-Founder and Executive Director, Education, Clayton Christensen Institute, named one of the 100 most important people in the advancement of the use of technology in education by Tech & Learning magazine.