American Pickers

We use negotiation for lots of obvious things–garage sales, jobs, buying large items like cars and homes. However, if you look closely, finding negotiations is easy: from divvying up chores, to where you will spend Christmas this year. This article describes negotiating while maintaining relationships.

Positional Negotiation

Two of my favorite shows illustrate different styles of negotiation. American Pickers, a show where two enterprising men run around and buy people’s treasures, clearly demonstrates positional negotiating at its finest. They offer an amount, the person counters and they attempt to reach a sweet spot where each person thinks they got the better deal. Usually, this is done by pointing out the flaws in the object. They end up with a feeling of pride and competition, mastery. This is positional negotiation.

Interest Based Negotiation

Fixer Upper

Fixer Upper shows an entirely different negotiating style. Two couples agree to find, buy, and renovate a house for one of the couples. The two couples have a shared goal, a finite amount of money, and a specific time period. They negotiate–take down this door, make this repair or that one–but the process is completely different from the first kind. Watching their interactions, we end up with a feeling of connection instead of competition and focus on positives and goals instead of flaws. This is interest based negotiation.

Now think about times when you negotiate–pay raises, divorces, child custody agreements, business partnerships, etc. What type of feeling do you want to engender in yourself and those you are negotiating with?

Competition/mastery/focus on the negative/Taking advantage
Teamwork/Pride in a job well done/Focus on the positive/Focus on the goal?

Making The Switch

Making the switch from positional negotiation to interest based negotiation may take some time. Changing mindsets takes a lot of practice but when you do, amazing creativity flows. Need help making the switch? Call a local collaborative divorce professional. They are specially trained in interest based negotiation and can help your team make the switch!

Christy Graham owns Acorn Counseling Education Services. She works with families in very difficult circumstances to make decisions that honor their commitment to each other and their future relationships. Call for a consultation or an appointment at 940-222-8703 ext 703.


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