Multiple Options/Martin Rosenfeld, JD

Posted on March 10, 2018


In his book “Smart Money Decisions”, Harvard Business School professor Max H. Bazerman cautions about home-buyers who fall in love with a particular home after seeing it at an open house and place a bid for it on the spot. By limiting their range of options to one house, rather than several, they set themselves up for adversarial bargaining. They are too invested in one choice and have denied themself possibilities that may exist. A preferred method is to look at three options, ideally, and then sort through them in a thoughtful process.

There are times where parties to a mediation, run out of options to consider. The mediator may have some thoughts of what might work. “Feeding” the parties the option that you consider as viable may be quite unwise. Such direction might lead to an ultimate feeling by one or birth parties that they were victims of undue influence on the part of the mediator. Where possible, and where impasse has been reached, the mediator may wish to present the parties with three options. Such behavior may well allow the mediation to continue as the parties seek the Win-Win conclusion.The parties always gain by having multiple options at their disposal. This is known by negotiators as the rule “Fall in love with three”. Mediate don’t litigate.