Saturday 27 October 2012

Negotiators wanted (not arbitrators)


I believe that cycle campaigners have to learn some negotiation skills. That's even more important with the backdrop of the stifling affliction of Great British Politeness.

For both sides to get the best out of negotiation it involves this:

Step 1 - sides to describe their case
Step 2 - sides to state their upper limit (what they want)
Step 3 - sides to understand each other's constraints
Step 4 - negotiate
Step 5 - formulate an outcome / deal

The outcome can range from agreeing a deal (full acceptance of someone's upper limits or a compromise within the parties' limit envelopes) to walking away with no deal.

Or you may say "Let's meet again in x months time to re-examine our stance(s)." In any case, after a successful negotiation (deal or no deal), you walk away understanding the other side better.

Here's the important part.

Before every negotiation you know your lower limit but - in whatever you do - don't let the other side know. Why? As it might be within their limit envelope and you'd lose going for your lower limit straight away!

I have seen some awful campaigning for accepting their lower limits in the first go, not going through Steps 1-5. You walk away with N.O.T.H.I.N.G - you are the weakest link. Good-bye.

Maybe seeing campaigning (for more and safer space for cycling) as a negotiation helps us to be more ambitious.

So know your limits! And put your p-p-p-p-p-poker faces on next time!

If Gaga can do it, you can too!

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