These situations seemingly pit one side against the other because of perceived “fixed” positions taken by each side. In reality, each side would be better off trying to understand the other side’s situation and seek ways to address each other’s concerns without feeling like they are giving in.
Inventing options for mutual gain is at the heart of a book by the Harvard Negotiation Project. Four major obstacles typically “inhibit the inventing of an abundance of options,” according to the authors of “Getting to Yes.” Those options include premature judgment, searching for a single answer, assuming a fixed pie and thinking that “solving their problem is their problem,” as rendered by authors Roger Fisher and William Ury. In other words, exercising a lack of imagination for possible solutions can prove problematic because people focus too much on closing the gap between two distinctly different solutions rather than widening the gap to find alternate solutions and, essentially, getting rid of the either/or scenario.
Negotiation decisions are easier when there are multiple options that help each side prioritize the solutions that best fit “their side” rather than fighting over one solution. Seeking mutual gain for each other rather than just one side’s self-interest can make all the difference in crafting mutually beneficial solutions and negotiations.
— Jeanny Sharp, editor and publisher