When it comes to negotiating, Americans have a biiiiig problem. How big? Let’s take a quick spin around the planet and see how Americans measure up, bargaining-wise, to the rest of the world.*
Japan, home to the finest negotiators on Earth, is the perfect place to start. You’d be hard-pressed to find much of anything wrong in the way the Japanese negotiate. Their skill at bargaining comes from two fundamental Japanese social imperatives: saving face, and maintaining the wa, or harmony, of the group. Here’s the formula: If a deal is unfair, someone will lose face; and if someone loses face, the wa of the whole group will be undermined.
If anybody gets hosed, everybody’s hosed.
You can see the importance ...