We have all experienced, or observed, a difficult discussion at some time or other. A negotiation between two sides to try and reach agreement and where finding a solution that satisfies both parties, seems beyond what’s possible.
It could be two companies thrashing out a deal, a husband and wife arguing, management and staff, or unions. Or when we turn to the TV, Governments, political parties and heads of State. In times such as these and especially when we are in the middle of them, we become ‘reaction machines’. The human propensity to find and perpetuate conflict in these situations is legendary and we can make the best speeches we’ll ever regret. Logic flies straight out of the window.
At times such as these, the 2 sides need the 3rd side. A fresh perspective. Someone to remind them what’s at stake, to think how best to approach things.
There is perhaps no better way to explain this than through a story, often told in the Middle East, about a father who bequeaths his 17 camels to his 3 sons. To his eldest he leaves half his camels, to his next eldest a third, to the youngest a ninth. So the sons start to negotiate; 17 can’t be halved, is not easily divisible by 3 and 17 camels certainly can’t be split 9 ways. Tempers fray until they finally decide to consult a wise old woman. She ponders and after a while comes back to them and says “I can’t really help you but I’ve a camel, why not take mine?” So with 18 camels, the eldest takes his 9, the second with his third takes his 6 and the youngest with a 9th has 2. But they’ve still only 17 camels so they give the old woman her camel back.
By Michael Cook. Finding agreement, where solutions are difficult, and helping you to negotiate is something we do well here at dealingwithno.com. The TeleMentor service is just one service we provide alongside others. See where we might be able to help you take a fresh perspective on things and prepare for those tough discussions by taking a look at our website. Or simply call 0845 388 7888.