Prudence/Martin Rosenfeld, JD

Posted on November 14, 2020


I just read a vignette about President Dwight Eisenhower. Someone handed him a sealed envelope and told the President its contents was for his review. President Eisenhower refused to open the envelope as it was his policy to only review documents that had first been reviewed by an aide. He wanted to ensure that at least one other “pair of eyes” had seen the document in question. Only then would he take the time to consider the matter at hand. A practice of considerable prudence.

In a negotiation, a party may well feel very strongly about a particular view, demand, proposal, etc. It is likely very prudent to run an idea before another party before presenting it in a contested discussion. Sometimes, a third party is more liable to see the defect or pitfall in the matter that the party wishes to present in the give-and-take. It is rare indeed to see a situation where two heads are not better than one. Do not hesitate to spread a wide net in getting feedback on matters you wish to present to another party. The prudent path incorporates feedback from others who are more objective than you happen to be.