Sheila Heen is the Thaddeus R. Beal Professor of Practice, and serves as a Deputy Director of the Harvard Negotiation Project, where she has been developing negotiation theory and practice since 1995. Heen also teaches in the executive education programs, including the Harvard Negotiation Institute’s Advanced Negotiation course, and the PON Master Class.
Heen specializes in particularly difficult negotiations – where emotions run high and relationships are strained. She is also a co-author of two New York Times bestsellers, Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most (with Douglas Stone and Bruce Patton, 2nd ed Penguin 2010) and Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well (Even When It’s Off-Base, Unfair, Poorly Delivered, and Frankly, You’re Not in the Mood) (with Douglas Stone, Viking/Penguin 2014). She has written for the Harvard Business Review, and the New York Times as a guest expert, and as a Modern Love columnist.
Heen and her co-authors are currently working on a 3rd edition of Difficult Conversations, revising and updating the content with what they have learned since (for release in 2022).
Heen is a Founder of Triad Consulting Group, a corporate education and consulting firm that serves clients on six continents. Her corporate clients have included Pixar, Hugo Boss, the NBA, the Federal Reserve Bank, Ford, Novartis, Converse, American Express, and numerous family businesses. She often works with executive teams, helping them to work through conflict, repair working relationships and make sound decisions together. In the public sector she has also provided training for the New England Organ Bank, the Singapore Supreme Court, the Obama White House and theologians struggling with disagreement over the nature of truth and God.
Sheila is a frequent media guest and has appeared on shows as diverse as Oprah, NPR, Fox News, and CNBC’s Power Lunch. She can be heard on podcast episodes of Shane Parrish’s Knowledge Project, Adam Grant’s WorkLife, Hidden Brain, and The Tim Ferriss Show. She has spoken at the Global Leadership Summit, the Nordic Business Forum, the Smithsonian, Apple, Google, Microsoft and the Leadership & Character Conference at the U.S. Air Force Academy. She got to fly along on a training mission in an F-16 while collaborating with the Air Force to strengthen feedback to pilots in training.
Heen is a graduate of Occidental College and Harvard Law School. She is schooled in negotiation daily by her three children.
- B.A. Occidental College, 1990
- J.D. Harvard Law School, 1993
- Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton & Sheila Heen, Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most (3d ed., 2023).
- Sheila Heen & Debbie Goldstein, Responding to Feedback You Disagree With, Harv. Bus. Rev., Apr. 14, 2017.
- Douglas Stone & Sheila Heen, Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well (2015).
- Sheila Heen & Douglas Stone, Find the Coaching in Criticism, Harv. Bus. Rev., Jan.-Feb. 2014.
- Sheila Heen, Walking Alongside Our Clients on Their Journey through Conflict, 26 Negot. J. 85 (2010).