Business, Politics & Society

The Art of Negotiation

Bob Iger

Lesson time 4:43 min

Bob shares his tips for successful negotiation, including how to remove your ego from the process and how to make everyone feel like they’ve come out a winner.

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Bob Iger
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Preview

- Maui? Shapeshifter? Demigod of the wind and sea? I am Moana of-- MAUI: Hero of men. - W-- what? - It's actually Maui, shapeshifter, demigod of the wind and sea, hero of men. I interrupted. From the top-- hero of men, go. - Uh-- I am-- MAUI: Sorry, sorry, sorry. Sorry-- and women. Men and women. Both. All. Not a guy-girl thing. Ah, you know, Maui is a hero to all. You're doing great. [MUSIC PLAYING] - There's an awful lot written about negotiating. And what I've learned about negotiating is that no two people have the same negotiating style. In my case, my negotiating style is typically to be expedient. I'm not a believer in stretched-out or long-term negotiations. I like to get deals done relatively quickly. In order to achieve that, I typically like to put things on the table in a fairly candid manner, in a direct manner, and quickly. One might argue that that's not necessarily a way to get the best result. But in my case, I happen to believe that if you want to do a deal and you want to do a deal relatively quickly, the best way to do it is to get at basically the particulars or the essence of what you want to achieve right away, even if it means revealing to the other side, the other party, where you might want to be in a way that perhaps gives away a little bit more to them so that it gives them some advantage from a negotiation perspective. I enter most negotiations realizing that a negotiation has to be ultimately two-way in terms of its benefits. Each party, I believe, serve better if they come away from the negotiation having felt like they've accomplished something or they've won something. So I don't have a winner-take-all approach when it comes to negotiations. I think if you go into a negotiation with a winner-take-all approach, the negotiation is less expedient. It typically takes longer because the other side doesn't want to give up everything in the negotiation. So I like to go in knowing that there are things that I need to achieve or that we need to achieve as a company, also realizing that the same might be true for the party that we're negotiating with. [MUSIC PLAYING] I've done four big deals during the 14 years that I've been CEO-- Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, and then 21st Century Fox. And in each case, there was a controlling entity or an individual on the other side where all roads, essentially, in the negotiation, in the deal really led to and ultimately through that person. And so in each case, it was necessary for me to forge a personal relationship with them in order to either convince them to sell the company that they controlled or to convince them that we were the right entity to sell to. One great example of entering a negotiation, one, with an idea of it being expedient and, two, knowing exactly what needed to be achieved, at least on our part in the negotiation, is the negotiation with Steve Jobs over the acquisition of Pixar. I told Stev...


Embrace risk, build resilience

In an era of disruption, Disney CEO Bob Iger led one of the world’s most beloved brands to unprecedented success with the acquisitions of Pixar, Marvel, and Lucasfilm. Now, through case studies and lessons from 45 years in media, Bob teaches you how to evolve your business and career. Learn Bob’s strategies for expanding a brand, leading with integrity, and making big moves—from risk management to the art of negotiation.



Reviews

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Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

This class is for execs who have accomplished big goals and are looking to further their reach. Not for the average entrepreneur getting started. Great course. i'll revisit in a few years after I sell my first business.

As an owner of a broadcast company. Bob Iger's leadership insight is valuable and I will put to work the notes I took to grow my business.

I am the CEO of a biotech company that is on the cutting edge of immune oncology. Every lesson that Iger teaches is directly relevant to what I do. Much of it I’m doing already, but I’m sure this class has redirected me. What a leader. I hope to meet him someday.

It was very interesting to hear insights from one of the most known brands – even to get to learn about some behind the scenes insights from Disney was amazing. Bob Iger gave me a lot to think about.


Comments

Narrative W.

Inspirational. Seems and sounds obvious but clearly difficult to execute his advice!

Marcus M.

I like Bob's negotiation methods. One might wonder if it is a little easier given his role and having the power of the Disney brand behind him. Certainly, his position in 2020 is far greater than it was in 2005, but the Disney brand was still a major force back then.

Your Pal, E.

Thank you for your insights, Bob. While I agree with your candor and strategy, as the head of one of the world's most prestigious brands, you have the distinct advantage of being viewed as an equal, if not formidable opponent. In this respect, you have the luxury of operating outside your ego, as people will not likely attempt to manipulate your insecurities and/or vulnerabilities in order to serve their own gains. Part of the reason there is such ethical comeuppance in the post-Weinstein era is because his abuse of power shone a light on how unacceptably Machiavellian the entire system is and how "business as usual" has oppressed those of us who are not white males. (Another discussion for another time...) To this end, I am much more curious about your negotiating strategies as you transitioned from your $150 per week job and those positions leading to the Eisner/Disney negotiation mentioned in your book. Although you discuss how you were treated in the Capital City acquisition, the information is presented in an anecdotal manner and doesn't discuss strategy. While I realize that the Pixar acquisition is a more appropriate scenario, given the weighty Cons V Pros list in last lesson's case study, I suspect the majority of your students enter negotiations with little to no leverage and are likely playing the game in order to make it the next level. Or perhaps we have more leverage than we realize -- in which case, I'd love to hear your thoughts on how to adjust our mindsets accordingly. Thanks! Your pal, Erin

Jose C.

I like Bob's style of negotiation, however, I wonder if it varies based on how much you can afford to give up in the negotiation. I know that when I've had little to lose, or enough to give, I've been a lot more direct with what I want the outcome to be. Otherwise, I tend to approach negotiation in a co-creative manner with a preliminary idea of how it may benefit the other party, but it almost always evolves as we discuss the matter deeper. Much like Bob, I prefer the win/win scenario and I avoid the winner takes all approach. You never know when you're going to need the other party in the future for a potentially bigger deal. I know what I want, my negotiables and non-negotiables going in though.

Ryan D.

While the ones of us with any partially entrepreneur-like mindset could presume these views on negotiation, it's very helpful to hear someone who's been in some of the largest deals made in recent time uses the same fundamental viewpoint toward negotiating (best example, imo, being the both walk away feeling like NONE of it is one-sided on the benefit.) It hadn't clicked for me that of course it was he who was involved in/responsible for the Fox acquisition in 2018, as Disney prepared for their streaming entry. This, as well as the Pixar situation, can pretty much be considered accolades in the [large/monstrously large] business world.

NACHO M.

Be expedient, is the Bobs recommendation and also the way he delivered the message. This video is short but definitely worthy

Kevin B.

This lesson was so interesting! These tips are really helpful. I am curious how Bob Iger would go into a negotiation when there are multiple stakeholders that decide. Like Bob Iger said, at Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilms and Fox, there was one controlling individual to make the decision and then forcing a personal connection can be a good strategy. but what would he do if there are multiple individuals that are totally not aligned with each other.

Andrew L.

This was a refreshing and interesting approach to negotiation. Recently, I had a situation where I inherited a partnership that broke apart. The takeaways in Bob's approach that you might need to show your hand a bit was new to me. I know that I will work at rebuilding the relationship but there is a lot of distrust - on both sides. I appreciated how this lesson gives me a way to grow professionally when looking at the big picture. A lot to think about...

Trang Vu (.

Very good lesson. As the other side is also very smart people, let they win first in order to win-win in the end!

Jamal M.

This is applicable to life in general. Whether dealing with business or a spouse, looking for a win-win approach and negotiating based on that philosophy will take you further than you ever thought possible.