D

Data Decision Makers Deflecting Delivery Demonstrating Desperation Destroy Diligent Disagree Discomfort Disengaged/Distant Distrust Documentation Doubt Dream/Dreaming Dress Driven Duress

DATA

Identification of edible plants in a survival situation can be the difference between living and dying. Knowing poisonous plants is more important than knowing edible plants!

Data is the information available about a given topic, person, commodity or situation. Gathering, assessing and using this data is the difference between negotiating and begging. Preparedness is the key to success.

Information is usually readily available if you know how to seek it out. If it is fact based, get the details from the title company, the Internet, your accounting group, or any other reliable source for facts. Hard data is difficult to refute. Knowing the facts that help you is a good thing. Knowing those that hurt your cause is much better.

If it is personality based, seek the counsel of others who know the other person, study previous negotiation results with the person or his company, casually discuss the person with his or her secretary, or read up on the person's activities. With a little sleuthing, there are usually some valuable insights available.

Take the time to fully prepare. Often as not, you will be better prepared than the other person, and as a result, can control the conversation and impact the outcome of the negotiation.

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DECISION MAKERS

When stalking a tiger keep your eyes on the animal, and stop when it looks in your direction and close your mouth so the sun reflecting off your teeth doesn't give your position away.

When possible, you want to negotiate with a decision maker. Similarly, you should not reveal your ability to commit without checking with someone else. It is always nice to have the ability to say, 'Let me check to see if we can do that.' This does not mean you have to give up your power. You certainly have the right to check with those who work for or with you on certain aspects of a set of contract terms.

So the suggestion is to press to get the other side to bring a decision maker to the session. To do this typically requires your acknowledging your ability to make a similar commitment. Do not equivocate on your absolute power. Rather, feign lack of intimate knowledge on certain aspects of the terms to have a reason to ask someone not in the room as question before committing.

If the other person uses this tactic against you, hand him your mobile phone and offer to leave the room while he makes the call. Your role is to solve problems for him so he can't find reasons not to agree.

In a mediation the mediator will insist on decision makers being present at the mediation session. Before commencing the session, everyone has to agree that their decision makers are available. This gets the right people at the table but does not preclude your using the tactic described above. It is not unreasonable for you to have to seek the counsel of others before making your decision. The tactic is an effective blocking maneuver when things are not going the way you want.

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DECISION MAKING

Stalked by a tiger, do not anguish too long over the best decision. Just make it before he makes his.

Decision-making requires confidence, awareness, information, and courage. More good outcomes are lost due to indecision than poor decisions. Prepare properly and agree to meet only when you are comfortable deciding what to do. Even when on a fact-finding mission, the other person may present you with an opportunity to close the deal. Be ready to know if the offer is worth taking. For a negotiation to end, decisions have to be made. Large decisions, small decisions, important decisions and mundane decisions. The process of making decisions is what advances a negotiation to its final outcome.

People naturally resist making decisions. This is especially true when they feel they are being pressured to commit. An effective negotiator needs to prepare others to make decisions and commit. The timing of when to seek a decision is a function of many things. Pressing the other person to make a decision too soon may work against a viable accord. It takes a keen sense of timing to know when the other person is ready to be gently pushed into a decision they may not fully embrace. Learning to observe body language and listen carefully to the hidden meanings in to responses will help you understand when the timing is right.

Signals Indicating the Other Person is Ready to Commit:

- If the other person acknowledges your argument has merit, it indicates that he or she is starting to appreciate your position and may be inclined to agree or concede to some degree.

- If you have made a series of points that appear to have been well received, it can be a natural moment to continue and make a well-reasoned proposal or seek agreement on the point or points.

- After reviewing the terms of your proposal, if the other person has indicated a clear understanding of each point and not given any negative, non-verbal signal that he disagrees with them, proceed to seek approval of the proposal. If he has shown discomfort on some of the issues, go back and revisit those point. Ask him what he thinks of the individual point. It is not good a strategy to ask for a global commitment until you have sensed the smaller issues are pretty well resolved.

- Before asking for a decision or commitment, review the reasons the other person is agreeing to the terms and reinforce why their decision is a good one. If you have built up a climate of mutual respect, knowing that you understand their position and have tried to meet their needs will help to cement the deal.

- If the other person keeps looking at his or her watch or otherwise seems pressured by time, you may want to press for a decision. If their next appointment is more important, personally or professionally, you may gain a last minute concession just to wrap things up.

Decisions are pivotal moments in negotiations. Treat each decision, even the small ones, with respect. Once a decision is made, reinforce why it was a good decision. It does not hurt to intimate that you may have conceded more than expected to build up the other's ego a bit. You want each decision to become easier as you build toward the really important decisions.

During the mediation process, the mediator will insist on decision makers being present at the mediation session. Just because you are present does not mean you have to make a decision until you are ready to do so. Politely but firmly remind the mediator that is is your decision to make, not his. His only goal is to get the both of you to agree. Your goal is to negotiate what, for you, are fair terms.

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DEFLECTING

When a tiger charges you can try to deflect his claws with your hands or simply shoot him in his tracks if you thought to bring your gun.

It is typical to be attacked in any disputed situation. How you handle such attacks will help determine the outcome of the confrontation.

Full frontal attacks are designed to debilitate. Oblique shots are intending to incite. Feigned attacks are often probing tactics designed to establish your sensitive areas. Understand the different nuances of attacks so your response, AKA deflection, is properly mitered to not reveal too much about your situation.

Deflecting a feigned attack is as easy as side-stepping the issue and not responding. Don't feel the need to respond directly. That is precisely what the other person wants you to do.

An oblique attack is typically personal in nature, deflecting it requires self discipline. Don't rise to the bait. Ignore the insult and calmly respond with your perspective of the situation. If you have been accused of bending the truth, explain that from your perspective the truth differs. Then seek to explain in a fashion that moves the discussion to another issue. But note that you have a credibility issue that will need to be addressed at some point in time. It is better if you can choose when and how to address this issue.

Full frontal attacks, more common in mediations and family disputes than the business arena, require a decisive, effective, and equally debilitating response. A spouse calling you a liar and cheat usually has cause. If not, step up to the plate and challenge the accuser ferociously. Demand evidence and sources. Don't back down. To falter signals guilt. If, however, you are culpable, you need to decide what you want to do.

Your options are:

-To capitulate, admit your guilt and seek forgiveness.

-To capitulate, admit your guilt and seek the nearest exit.

-To conceal your guilt deny, deny and deny.

-To conceal your guilt create a new 'reality' hoping to create confusion.

-To deflect your guilt by accusing your accuser of something worse.

-To deflect your guilt by blaming others for your weakness.

Deflection is an art. Much like the Samurai, striking lethal blows in a negotiation are few and far between. The real skill is in parrying the attacks of others until you are ready to strike a decisive, conclusive blow. Negotiating is warfare. Prepare for the worse and hope for the best.

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DELIVERY

A raging gorilla thumps its chest to let others know he is the biggest, meanest, nastiest gorilla in the jungle. He stands tall, leans back and roars his message to the treetops. He commands attention.

When making speeches before large audiences speech coaches recommend slowing the pace of your delivery, exaggerating points of interest, and illustrating your points. These are good suggestions in any setting where you are trying to communicate with another person.

It is not about you. It is about what you are saying. Consider your audience and what is in it for them. Forge your remarks to address their needs to keep their attention. Have a message. Tell it long and tell it strong. And tell it again. Make it short, concise and germane.

Use a simple declarative sentence. 'I have a dream' is an example of a message that became a mantra. Meetings can become laborious and boring. When you are about to deliver an important message, make sure you get the attention of those in the room.

Ways to get the attention of others:

-Change the speed at which you are talking.

-Raise your voice.

-Slap the table with something.

-Pause until everyone looks up.

-Reach out and touch the other person conveying

compassion or empathy. -Preface the remark with a joke or short story to break the pattern.

-Show a humorous slide.

-Pause until the other person looks up then look him squarely in the eye.

Command attention when you are about to make a significant point. Make sure everyone knows its import and is listening. The reason you are in the room is to communicate. Don't take for granted the attention of others. They may be tired, bored or too busy planning their next comment. It is your responsibility as a communicator to wait until you know you have their attention before making the point.

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DEMONSTRATING

Often the math in a negotiation or how something is to work can be convoluted. Taking the time to demonstrate how a provision is to work is a viable tactic that can accomplish a number of things:

-Clarify any issues of understanding.

-Flush out problematic aspects of the provision.

-Put the other person at ease by informing them of the terms in a way that is non-threatening.

-Establish you as the coach or mentor for the group.

Demonstrations can apply to almost any aspect of a negotiation. For example, demonstrations apply especially well to:

-Clarifying scheduled payments or other math applications.

-Establishing timelines to address the future obligations of the parties

-To explain an approval process of one of the parties.

-To identify the various issues that have an impact on the discussion and attribute who at the table has a special interest in each.

-Explaining how an allowance is to be earned and how additional chores can increase the weekly or monthly allowance in order to be able to afford that special purchase every child wants at one time of another.

By using a coaching or mentoring demeanor you can disarm another person's suspicious nature. But this does not always work when the other person is not listening. Often a family conflict is not the best arena to apply demonstrations. Instead of being helpful, the approach is often looked at as being condescending.

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DESPERATION

When cornered, do not expect any wild animal to give up. Desperate to escape, they will do almost anything to avoid capture or danger. The smallest possum can strike a mighty blow when trapped. Once you have contained the animal, give it enough room so it doesn't feel imminently threatened. This enables you to prepare to take it down as humanely as possible.

Desperation causes people to do things they would not ordinarily do to get out of a bad situation. Don't be so aggressive that you force the other to act desperately.

In a personal dispute to aggressively corner and badger the other person may result in the person simply giving up on the relationship. Divorce is a painful and permanent alternative to resolving spousal issues. Before you push the other person so hard they see no other option, make sure it is what you want as the final resolution. Sometimes we box ourselves in before we realize it and lose the chance to modulate our arguments and seek reconciliation.

In the business setting, desperation can evoke bizarre behavior. Carefully observe the non-verbal signs of desperation settling in before you press so hard the other side is forced to strike out destructively.

Typical signs of the onset of desperation are:

-Eyes darting back and forth looking for a way out.

-Hands grasping the edge of the table as though the person is about to rise.

-Looking down and shaking your head.

Never underestimate the other person. Desperate people are dangerous people. While they may be backed into a corner, they are not without resources. Beware of a lethal strike made as a last resort attempt to regain their footing.

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DESTROY

A wild fire blazes across a range of mountains destroying the forest in its path. Over time new growth returns to the area as strong and beautiful as ever.

Destruction has a bad connotation. but it can serve a good purpose. military boot camp is designed to tear young men and women down only to rebuild them as a cohesive, fighting team. Peter Drucker says, in his book Re-Imagine, forget about "Built to Last". All companies, Peters says, are doomed to failure. He suggests that it is better to completely destroy your own company from the inside and remake it in a new, bold and creative way than fight old battles with old ideas. The latter will likely see the company eventually fade away into irrelevance. Personal trainers like to chant, "no pain, no gain!" Technically they are right. Unless you exercise to the point where you damage your muscle tissue, they will not be able to regenerate into larger, stronger muscles. How many people do you know who have been fired only to find a better job with more opportunity or change their career path to something at which they soon excel?

Mediators are trained to invoke this process, albeit in stealth, on the small group they are shepherding through the settlement process. Frequently the parties need to be confronted and made to realize that there are more views than their own before they can actually start the settlement process.

Negotiators can invoke the mediator's ploy or, as is more likely the case, use the ultimate destructive tool available to them. just say "No!". Absolute rejection often gets the attention of the other person and brings the discussion back toward more reasonable terms.

If the challenge is large and the objective important enough, consider invoking a little destructive strategy. It may turn around a seemingly lost cause.

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DILIGENT

It takes much more than a gun, bullets, guide, compass and purpose to track down and kill a black footed ferret. You also have to have the will to prevail.

Too many people stop trying too soon. Diligence is a lost personality trait in our electronic age. We are accustomed to immediate gratification and anything involving perseverance is looked upon as requiring too much effort. Those that are diligent become the strong contenders in a field of mediocrity.

If something is worth doing, it is worth doing well and thoroughly. Follow through and attention to detail are the mark of excellence. Others respect aggression channeled through diligent follow-up and perseverance. Your willingness to allocate the time to press for success will often gain concessions from the other party as they will begin to feel your passion.

Balancing perseverance with desperation is important. Never beg for a return call or meeting. Demand it as though it is your right to be answered or heard. Expect respect and it will be forthcoming.

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DISAGREE

The happenstance meeting of a tiger and gorilla is not likely to result in a friendly chat.

Dispute resolution is based on the fact that people disagree. That is part of the process of society. Interaction breeds conflict. The methodology of resolving conflict has evolved over the time man has roamed the planet and will continue to do so until the last man breathes his or her last breath. But the basics never change.

People who disagree may or may not want to resolve their problems. Mediators are often directed by local courts to try to resolve the matter. This is called forced or stipulated mediation. The challenge then is for the mediator to bring two or more people together to work out their problems when they are not eager to do so.

Mediators are especially adept at bringing the disagreement to the table then dissecting it into smaller areas of discord. This process of separating and solving often gets the two people focused on working together so that they become comfortable confronting each other then forgiving one another.

Identifying the cause of disagreement is crucial to resolve any dispute. Often it is not what the parties originally state it to be.

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DISCOMFORT

Running from a rhinoceros might cause some discomfort if you lose the race!

The negotiating or mediating environment has a direct impact on the outcome. Controlling the environment to raise or lower yours comfort level and the discomfort of the other person is a tactic used frequently and with pointed success.

The glare of the sun through a window, the temperature in the room, the lack of water or the chance for a break during a long session are tactics used by police interrogators. Similarly, you can use versions of the same things to gain the competitive edge or to facilitate the discussion.

In a heated negotiation, choose the seat at the table with its back to the window. You do not need to be distracted by what is going on outside. You also may find the sun's glare to be discomforting to the other person. Pick a chair that gives you maximum exposure to the other person's office so you can gain insight into his or her family, hobbies, awards, workload, and other intangible but possibly valuable pieces of information about how he works.

Emotional outbursts also effect the negotiating environment. Suddenly becoming demonstrably angry at the other person is an excellent way to make them uncomfortable. If you are lucky, properly timed outbursts can reap concessions or compromises. Such an outburst signals that you have reached the end of your patience and are willing to kill further negotiations. It is a strong tactic to deploy and needs to be used judiciously.

Controlling the discomfort level to disquiet an otherwise confident person can open a door to a solution where there was not opportunity before.

As a mediator, pick an office setting that is non-threatening to either party. Make sure the room is cool and that there is water and/or coffee available. Your goal is to make everyone feel at ease and not be distracted or uncomfortable. Always take time to explain where the restrooms are, how to get a beverage, or what your expectations are about mobile telephones and other interruptions. You are clearing the way for a very focused discussion paving the way to an accord.

Controlling the comfort level of a meeting serves to allow everyone to relax a bit and become more receptive to talking.

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DISENGAGED/DISTANT

A leopard is a solitary and nocturnal predator. If you come across a leopard, remember that it is equally at home chasing you in branches of large trees or on the ground. Don't climb a tree to get away from this predator unless you have a helicopter waiting.

Dispute resolution requires that the parties to a dispute work together to reach a solution. If one or both are disengaged from the discussions, resolution is unlikely. Mediators require decision makers to be present during court mandated mediation hearings for a reason. The hearings are designed to force a quick resolution before the matter is set before a judge. If the parties can't commit if an agreement is reached, then there is no reason to have the mediation.

Similarly in a negotiation it is appropriate to find out the authority each party at the table has. If you have the authority to commit but the other person does not, you may want to request another meeting with a person equally empowered if you really want to get to the core of the issues.

If you find yourself in a negotiation with someone who is distant or disengaged, you need to slow down, backtrack and try to uncover why they are not getting involved. The other person may know beforehand that they cannot make the deal. If this is the case, it is wasting their time and yours as well. Find out what is blocking the deal and try to resolve that first. It is better than tying up your property for a buyer who doesn't have the capacity to fund the escrow.

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DISTRUST

Never rely on your guide to get you out of trouble. He is the one who will have led you into it.

Most negotiations or mediations start from a basis of mutual distrust. It is distrust of the unknown. Those involved may be new acquaintances. The issues may yet to be defined. The process may be foreign. The mediator or another third party may be a stranger. The best way to remove distrust from a relationship is to find out from where the uneasiness arises. If it is just that the parties don't know each other, then start by making general introductions and get some background information on the table. If it is concern over the mediation process, take time to explain how mediation works and what the typical stages are. Your goal is to put everyone at ease, remove any barriers to effective communication, and set the stage to talk seriously.

Disputes create an atmosphere of distrust. Mediators must overcome this negative atmosphere in order to start to work on a resolution. To do this often requires ferreting out which personalities are causing the greatest discomfort. In settling sibling disputes it is not uncommon to discover that it is distrust of an in-law that is blocking conciliation. Remove that element from the equation and often rapid progress can be made.

It is also the same in some business negotiations. You may run into a situation where a person in the room has a troubled history with your company that is counter-productive to making progress. Identifying any interpersonal problems early will help you to keep them from interfering with the negotiation once it starts. Planning and preparation are key pre-negotiation tasks that should not be neglected. Proper preparation will alert you to possible distrust barriers you may encounter.

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DOCUMENTATION

Getting the chimp to sign a document or any document is not that hard. Getting him to perform on that agreement may be something else unless you have provided an ample supply of bananas as a motivating factor as part of the agreement.

Successful negotiations or mediations typically end with a documented agreement. The content of the document is important. It reflects the terms the parties agreed to accept. It should include what each person is to do, when it is to be done, and how it is to be done. It should also include signatures of each person involved in the terms of the agreement. A document of agreement can be a simple statement of terms and expectations between a father and daughter over her use of the family car, or it may be a complicated merger agreement between two large, publicly traded companies. The content is the same; only the words are different. Attorneys have a way of making paragraphs out of simple sentences and taking pages to explain what could be stated in a paragraph.

Deciding who should prepare the document can be used as a negotiating tactic. To control the pace of the negotiation, take control of the documentation process. Now you can speed or delay the timing of the drafts. You also get to decide what is included in the initial drafts. Finally, if you are working with your standard language, such as a real estate contract or lease, your review need only be of the changes to the document. The other person is forced to read each and every word. Take control and seek to be responsible to draft the agreement when possible.

Redlined documents are a nice courtesy extended by attorneys. Others do it as well. But be careful to carefully read the entire final document without regard to the redlined changes to make sure the final copy is correct and states exactly what you think it should. The other person may innocently or not so innocently neglect to redline every change. It is your responsibility not to rely on their accuracy or honesty when it comes time to sign.

Getting the signature is the next step. When the document is ready to sign those required to sign may not be. It is natural to draw back before committing. As a negotiator or mediator it is incumbent on you to anticipate this and prepare everyone so that they are mentally ready to sign when the document is ready.

Some ways to prepare people for signing agreements are noted below:

-Make sure everyone has something to gain from signing.

-Reinforce the benefit to each party before asking for their signature.

-Work up to signing the agreement by having everyone sign other, non-threatening agreements first. Work up to the final document.

-Allow adequate review time before you press for a signature.

-If you are signing, sign first, then hand the other person your pen.

Cognitive dissonance or buyer's remorse is a natural psychological reaction to having just agreed on something. Whether it is buying a house or a car or signing a contract, cognitive dissonance is a natural state of self-doubt that occurs. Realize that this may happen with the other person after they have signed and left the meeting. Defuse this reaction by taking time after the signing session to compliment the other person on some aspect of the process that they did well. Reinforce that they got a little extra from you or that you look forward to doing this again. What you are doing is making them feel good about what they just did before the get buyers remorse and try to reverse their decision.

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DOUBT

Face-to-face with a charging leopard is not the time to doubt your aim.

Doubt is a condition of poor planning and preparation. Properly prepared and ready for a negotiation, you should be free of doubt as to your position, your arguments, and your needs. This information needs to have been congealed into a strategy and tactical plan. Negotiations are much like hand-to-hand combat. The person who hesitates will likely lose the round.

Part of an effective strategy is to create doubt on the other's part. By questioning his arguments or facts with your own prepared positions, you can test just how well prepared he or she is and challenge their statements. Being able to catch them in an assumption or misstatement, you will have a stronger position of authority at the table. This is especially true if they have relied on others to do the research for the meeting.

Dispel self-doubt by:

-Preparing thoroughly.

-Planning how you will handle the negotiation.

-Anticipate what the other person will claim or say and prepare strong, effective responses.

-Establish resources you can contact if you find you need more information during the meeting.

-Determine before the meeting if the other person is an expert in the field. If so and if you are not, bring your own expert with you. You don't have to be perfect in every way. Just in anticipating where your weaknesses may be.

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DREAM/DREAMING

A shark never sleeps, never dreams. it's horizons are limited to its next meal or mating opportunity.

Empires are built on dreams. Olympian champions start by dreaming of winning their next match in middle school. Locke on ABC's television series Lost conjures up the spirituality of why he has been placed on an island in the South Pacific that has healed his legs. Jack, his protagonist in the series, is limited to caring for the others and hoping to be rescued.

Locke is much more likely to sleep peaceably dreaming of something more than surviving each night. Jack likely lies awake wonder what next challenge is that he will face.

According to Peter Drucker, successful companies such as Harley-Davidson and Starbucks function work because they are selling a lifestyle or an image rather than simply a product. Successful companies offer more than a commodity. They create a dream-need through marketing that only their product or experience will satisfy.

No one enters a negotiation without an expectation of the outcome. That is their dream. To achieve your dream, you must find a way to make it the other person's dream as well.

Too many people focus on their needs and wants without caring about the other person. To excel at negotiating, the strategy of collective dreaming is required. Collective dreaming is the process of getting everyone involved in the discussion to envision the same objective, to want to achieve that objective, and to work together to make it happen. To do this a negotiator needs to look beyond his or her interests and conjure the ultimate outcome of the negotiation if successful for the group. Then he or she must present that dream to the entire group demonstrating how, if achieved, it benefits everyone.

Too often collective dreaming is not used to resolve confrontations because the parties are emotionally at odds with one another. Managers routinely use the approach to get through each day. Negotiators should expand their skill-set and include collective dreaming as a means to achieving their goal. It does not cost anything to consider another person's needs or perspective.

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DRESS

Taking the time to wash, shave and dress for dinner brings a touch of civility to the desert. This is prudent when dining with the nomad chieftain to avoid being part of the evening's entertainment.

Your dress or appearance signals your intent. If you mean business, dress with authority. If you are researching something and don't want to get into the details of a settlement, you can dress in a more relaxed style. Dressing in proper attire is a strategy used regularly in the business and professional environment.

While a suit may not be comfortable, it is a sure way to garner respect and attention. This first impression may serve simply to get you by a secretary. That may be your biggest challenge of the morning.

Remember also that you are looking to make an impression on others. By dressing distinctively and maintaining a commanding presence, you will be remembered by secretaries and assistants. It may be these employees that you need to keep documents flowing, get meetings scheduled, or gain insights into their boss. Be aware of the whole environment and work to establish little beachheads wherever possible.

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DRIVEN

Gray whales are driven to migrate to Magdalena Bay, their breeding lagoon in northwestern Mexico. This proclivity to return to one place annually made them easy prey for whale hunters.

People are driven to do things for a number of reasons. Becoming embroiled in a formal dispute, litigation or mediation, is usually cause by more than just the money involved. Mediators need to source the many different drivers that are causing the discord so that they may be addressed.

Similarly a negotiator may want to uncover forces that are standing in the way of reaching an agreement with the other person.

Several ways to uncover hidden forces or drivers are:

-Ask if there is anything else you should know about the issue. People may offer unstated reasons or issues if simply asked.

-Ask third parties or the other side if there are other issues to be aware of concerning this matter.

-Ask if settling the monetary aspect of the issue will satisfy the person.

-Ask how the person feels about the other person.

Uncovering the issues motivating the discord or aggravating the emotions will do a lot to help you plan a strategy to reach a resolution. While this is important in understanding your opponent, it is even more important in understanding your own motivation and needs.

Take the time to honestly ask yourself the following:

-Is there anything about the issue that makes it unusually important to you?

-Is there anything concerning this matter that is bothering you?

-Is there anything about dealing with the other person that is bothering you?

-If you get the monetary consideration you are seeking will you be happy? If so, why?

-Are you here because you want to be or because you have to be?

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DURESS

Under the duress of being backed into a corner, protecting her cubs from a threatening man, a female grizzly bear is likely the most dangerous.

Fear is one of the strongest motives that make people do things. Unfortunately it also can result in aberrant behavior. If a negotiation is threatening someone's livelihood, cash reserves, or ability to survive, they can not be expected to respond with a civil, rational counter. They are more likely to strike back in anger or simply walk away from the table. In either event, the settlement process has not been advanced.

Mediators and negotiators alike need to understand there are critical thresholds that need to be avoided to keep the process intact. For any negotiation to work, both parties have to want it do so. Hurting one party too much will stymie talks unless one side has the overwhelming power to force the other to acquiesce. But, in such a situation, they are no longer negotiating. One party is dictating.

There are times when unilateral tactics are appropriate in a negotiation. Typically both parties have the ability to walk away from an accord and one side decides that 'enough is enough'. He then says something like; 'This is my last and final offer.' The other side then must measure if they want to accept or call the other's bluff. If the other person is under a lot of duress to make the deal, he may have no choice but to accept the terms. If not, he can call the bluff.

Beware, if your bluff is called and you back down, you will lose a lot of credibility. If you are under pressure to reach an accord, a bluff is ill advised. If the other party can't accept your offer they may simply walk away without rejecting or countering. Now you don't even have the chance to back down.

Duress can have the following impact on a negotiation:

-It may result in irrational behavior or responses from one of the parties.

-It may block open communications.

-It may serve to disguise the real issues that need to be addressed.

-It may make one party vulnerable to power tactics.

-It may result in an agreement destined to eventually be broken by the party agreeing to the terms under duress.

Identify duress in a negotiation and understand how it impacts your achieving your goal. There is nothing wrong in using another's duress to gain concessions so long as the ultimate agreement is binding and will stand the test of time. Otherwise you are wasting time that could be better spent elsewhere.

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DESTROY

A wild fire blazes across a range of mountains destroying the forest in its path. Over time new growth returns to the area as strong and beautiful as ever.

Destruction has a bad connotation. but it can serve a good purpose. military boot camp is designed to tear young men and women down only to rebuild them as a cohesive, fighting team. Peter Drucker says, in his book Re-Imagine, forget about "Built to Last". All companies, Peters says, are doomed to failure. He suggests that it is better to completely destroy your own company from the inside and remake it in a new, bold and creative way than fight old battles with old ideas. The latter will likely see the company eventually fade away into irrelevance. Personal trainers like to chant, "no pain, no gain!" Technically they are right. Unless you exercise to the point where you damage your muscle tissue, they will not be able to regenerate into larger, stronger muscles. How many people do you know who have been fired only to find a better job with more opportunity or change their career path to something at which they soon excel?

Mediators are trained to invoke this process, albeit in stealth, on the small group they are shepherding through the settlement process. Frequently the parties need to be confronted and made to realize that there are more views than their own before they can actually start the settlement process.

Negotiators can invoke the mediator's ploy or, as is more likely the case, use the ultimate destructive tool available to them. just say "No!". Absolute rejection often gets the attention of the other person and brings the discussion back toward more reasonable terms.

If the challenge is large and the objective important enough, consider invoking a little destructive strategy. It may turn around a seemingly lost cause.

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