A Negotiation Lesson/Martin Rosenfeld

Posted on August 7, 2011


A contributor to the NJ Star Ledger, Lee Miller, penned an article on the lessons learned from the debt ceiling negotiations. Mr. Miller posits that by insisting that tax increases were necessary, as a pre-condition, President Obama cut off the possibility of the parties reaching a better and quicker agreement on their issues. His advice is simply stated: “In negotiations, the goal is to obtain the best possible outcome that you can get someone else to accept, not to convince them that you are right and they are wrong.”
Parties who have differing interests will not convince the other party that they are right in their held positions. A negotiation does not lead to a party admitting they were wrong, foolish, etc. A negotiation need merely lead to the parties being able to find common ground and come up with a way of living with the agreement they have reached.
In the Republican Party, a debate has broken out about how conservative a candidate must be before he is worthy of being elected. The more moderate Republicans. among whom Karl Rove is counted, have made a simple determination:”Republicans must agree to support the Republican candidate who is most electable. Supporting a “blue-blood Republican” who cannot win accomplishes nothing at all.
In your negotiation, reach for what you can safely get the other party to accept and craft your agreement. The alternative is needless and costly litigation. I do not believe that is what anyone needs, or ultimately, wants.