How “The Icon Value Diamond Model” can help the way we negotiate

Grande Lum’s “The Icon Value Diamond Model” can help us improve the way we negotiate.

There are probably thousands of models for successful negotiating but today we looked at Grande Lum’s The Icon Value Diamond Model* from his book The Negotiation Handbook. This model can be helpful in thinking through, and improving, our approaches to negotiation because

  • It’s simple and recommended
  • It looks long term to focus on Win/Win, and
  • By using an impartial model or process we can hold a mirror up to see how we can improve our negotiating over time 

The Icon Value Diamond Model presents four building blocks of negotiation – four interlocking elements of value. They are Interests, Criteria, Options and No Agreement Alternatives.

Also, the model anticipates the four types of results that happen in negotiations, where only one of which is acceptable.

The four results are Win/Win where both parties derive value, Win/Lose and Lose/Win where only one of the parties gets a result and Lose/Lose which is a disaster waiting to happen.

Imagine you are planning for an important negotiation with a client or prospect, one that will not be easy. What do you do? Here’s the ICON Model:



1. Interests – Underlie the positions of each party – the needs, goals, drivers, concerns and fears of each party. 

A focus on Interests:

  • Uncovers the other party’s concerns, drivers. needs and motivations
  • Allows you to share your interests
  • Lays the ground work for creating a multitude of options
  • Keeps you away from useless conflicts or a stalemate
  • Sets the stage for fair mutual decisions

A focus on Interests sets the foundation for the negotiation – it asks us to consider how large is the pie?

2. Criteria – are precedents, benchmarks and standards, i.e. objective means to filter or narrow the options

A focus on Criteria

  • Gives the parties a basis for acceptable standards or precedents
  • Helps ensure that each party won’t get done in the Negotiation
  • There are categories of precedents, e.g. what’s legal, how something has been previously agreed (e.g. an hourly rate), research on similar cases and third party evaluations or market prices.

A focus on Criteria helps measure the fairness of a negotiated deal.

3. Options – where you brainstorm possible solutions to satisfy Interests. Getting back to the pie, if you know how big it is, you can then be creative in working on getting each party to a Yes.

A focus on Options

  • Enables parties to satisfy their interests better
  • Explore and creates the Best Possible Deal

A focus on Options enables a joint solution to a shared problem or opportunity

4. No Agreement Alternatives – establish “walk aways”

This focus 

  • Helps you prepare by clearly establishing how far you are willing to go
  • Your Minimum Possible Agreement
  • What’s your bottom line?

The ICON Value Diamond comes from the proposition that neither party should end up below their minimum possible agreement. That would push you out of the Win/Win territory.

I guess the point I we negotiate things every day and by using something like the ICON Model we will get better at negotiating value, long term relationships and more repeat and profitable client relationships.

Thank you

Phil Hunt
Hunt Consultants – Build Competitive Advantage
The Negotiation Fieldbook: Simple Strategies to Help you Negotiate Everything. Grande Lum. The McGraw-Hills Companies, Inc., 2011