How are negotiations usually conducted?
Each party starts by requesting the best outcome they want and in a process of push, shove and compromise, they retreat from their ideal solution in order to find the point of agreement. It is an adversarial process.
It is as if the market economy rationale has penetrated our way of reasoning or thinking; each party focuses on its own needs and through an adversarial process, an agreement is eventually reached.
It is not a caring game.
My approach to negotiation is how I believe we should “negotiate” with a sibling, a parent or a child where love and caring rule the nest. Negotiations in the family should not be a game of power and intimidation. They should be a process where both parties are motivated to suggest mutually beneficial solutions. It is not really a negotiation. It is more akin to a process of co-creating a solution.
In collaborative negotiation, we need to start from the point of view that if the outcome of the negotiation is not good for the other party, it will not be good for us either, eventually. It is a process that relies upon and promotes mutual trust and respect.
These two different processes clash.
Since people are used to and expect adversarial negotiations, people generally do not trust the person who is following the collaborative process. This happens to me frequently. The people I negotiate with believe that what I am offering is only the best solution for me and they start requesting more concessions.
Often there is nothing more I can offer because in my initial offer I have already taken into account the most I can concede to take care of the other party’s interests.
This makes me appear closed minded. Inflexible. Not reasonable and often the people with whom I negotiate leave the table feeling somewhat frustrated.
Ichak Kalderon Adizes