Bruce Patton

Bruce Patton

Bruce Patton is a founder and partner of Vantage Partners.  He is also Distinguished Fellow of the Harvard Negotiation Project, which he co-founded with Professor Roger Fisher and William Ury in 1979.

Bruce has extensive experience in corporate, labor-management, and international contexts.  His work focuses on relationship management in alliance, outsourcing, and merger contexts; managing internal executive teams or cross-matrix conflict; and on negotiation advice and capacity building.  He has worked globally with some of the world's best-known corporations, including Andersen Consulting (now Accenture), Boeing, I.B.M., J.P. Morgan, and Unocal.  In addition to his work in the accounting, banking, energy, and legal sectors, Patton has extensive experience in the high-tech, IT, and telecom areas.  He has helped launch alliances, save and implement mergers, repair outsourcing relationships, renegotiate supplier relationships, implement restructured supplier management systems, coach executive teams, and build systems to support coordinated, high-quality, company-wide approaches to the management of key negotiations and relationships.

In addition to his work at Vantage Partners, Bruce is a founder and Board member emeritus of the nonprofit Conflict Management Group (now Mercy Corps).  From 1985-1999, he was the Thaddeus R. Beal Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School, where he taught the pioneering Negotiation Workshop and related courses.  He continues to teach regularly in Harvard's executive education programs.  His work in the public sector includes training the white Cabinet and African National Congress Negotiating Committee in South Africa before the constitutional talks that ended apartheid, mediating at the behest of the U.S. and Iran in the 1980 hostage conflict, working with President Oscar Arias on the Esquipulas II Central American peace agreement, and enabling the Boston Public Schools and the Boston Teachers Union to negotiate several contracts for educational reform

Mr. Patton is co-author with Roger Fisher and William Ury of Getting to YES: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In (2nd Ed., Penguin, 1991), which has sold more than 3 million copies and been translated into 23 languages. Most recently he co-authored (with Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen) Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most(Viking/Penguin, 1999), a New York Times Business Bestseller.

Mr. Patton received his A.B. from Harvard College in 1977 and his J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1984.

Research & Publications

Building Influence Competencies to Drive Improved Business Results

Influence is the way things get done in a matrixed organization. Leaders need to make sure that the approach to influence their people employ is one that will lead to creative solutions, wise trade-offs, positive working relationships amongst colleagues, and an organizational capacity for learning and innovation.

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