BATNA - Do you know your B.A.T.N.A?

An acronym with means Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement, remembering your BATNA is savvy.

BATNA Defined:
An acronym defined by negotiation researches Roger Fisher and William Ury which means Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement. It is the alternative action that will be taken if your proposed agreement with another party result in an unsatisfactory agreement or when an agreement cannot be reached.


The failure to have in reserve your BATNA is a lack of wisdom and savvy, often a person believe they must always make a decision, not making a decision is also an option.

Wiki's idea of this:

In negotiation theory, the best alternative to a negotiated agreement or BATNA is the course of action that will be taken by a party if the current negotiations fail and an agreement cannot be reached. BATNA is the key focus and the driving force behind a successful negotiator. A party should generally not accept a worse resolution than its BATNA. Care should be taken, however, to ensure that deals are accurately valued, taking into account all considerations, such as relationship value, time value of money and the likelihood that the other party will live up to their side of the bargain. These other considerations are often difficult to value, since they are frequently based on uncertain or qualitative considerations, rather than easily measurable and quantifiable factors.

The BATNA is often seen by negotiators not as a safety net, but rather as a point of leverage in negotiations. Although a negotiator's alternative options should, in theory, be straightforward to evaluate, the effort to understand which alternative represents a party's BATNA is often not invested. Options need to be real and actionable to be of value, however without the investment of time, options will frequently be included that fail on one of these criteria. Most managers overestimate their BATNA whilst simultaneously investing too little time into researching their real options. This can result in poor or faulty decision making and negotiating outcomes. Negotiatiors also need to be aware of the other negotiator's BATNA and to identify how it compares to what they are offering.

BATNA was developed by negotiation researchers Roger Fisher and William Ury of the Harvard Program on Negotiation (PON), in their series of books on Principled negotiation that started with Getting to YES, unwittingly duplicating a game theory concept pioneered by Nobel Laureate John Forbes Nash decades earlier in his early undergraduate research.


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