When nations collide on issues that impact on the world with major consequences, we all sit up and watch.
What is the nature of deadlocks? Commonly they occur as an unwanted result of the parties failing to achieve the outcomes they seek.
Skilled negotiators know that a single issue dispute cannot be resolved satisfactorily by cutting up the ‘cake’, nor by giving the ‘cake’ to one of the parties. Yet most observers would like the matter resolved, and presumably most would like to see a ‘win/win’ solution.
Personal Needs are Important Too
In most negotiations, the personal needs of the lead negotiators play a part. Any perceived loss of power as a tough negotiator will not help their individual claims to leadership.
Maybe a ‘time out’ is a useful process move for both parties.
Tips on Breaking Deadlocks
- Accurately identify the essential needs of the other party that are not being met. Note that these may be personal as well as operational.
- Stop discussing the issues on which you are deadlocked (which is difficult!). Think carefully about the process in which you are involved.
- Carefully select a ‘process option’ that will help move the negotiation forward in some way (even if it does not for the moment meet any of the issues of substance). From observing negotiations around the world, ENSI has developed a list of 25 deadlock breaking process options. These range from ‘calculated diplomacy’ to unconventional ‘ice breakers’.
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