:: Possibilities Consulting
"Excellent facilitators are a rare breed. They need to be great communicators who possess exceptional strategic thinking, have the ability to be impartial, draw out all the issues and facilitate problem solving. Lisa has all these attributes and more."

John Trevillyan
General Manager,
Workplace Performance
Mt Eliza Centre for Executive Development
Melbourne Business School

Mutual gain negotiation principles can deliver better results

There are lots of ways for groups to come to a decision: debate then voting, dialogue then voting, majority voting, preference voting, consensus decision making, leader decides, expert decides and so on.

Voting is one of the hallmarks of our democratic process, however it doesn't always deliver the most sustainable decisions. Consider a situation where a voting process results in a respectable 60% ‘vote-winning' majority. The same result also delivers 40% potentially unhappy participants! If this 40% includes minority groups and individuals that are capable of derailing the implementation of the decision then a voting approach is unlikely to achieve any real commitment to action.

Forunately, there are alternatives. One tried and tested approach is to work with the key stakeholders and support them in finding solutions to the issues in a way that all parties can sign up to.

Mutual gain negotiation principles are at the core of this approach.

A mutual gain approach to negotiation means having conversations with the parties in an effort to discover, create and test possible agreements that will increase the overall value of the outcome for each of the parties such that it satisfies all of their interests and is better than any alternative they currently have available. This approach requires skilful listening from all parties and a willingness to both trade and be creative in inventing options that are of value to some or all of the parties.

A key role in our facilitation work is to assist our client and their stakeholders to work within a mutual gains framework. This is not always easy for the parties to undertake on their own as there are often significant barriers to working together, including:

  • History of unhealthy and unproductive, low trust relationships
  • Difficult and complex issues open to multiple interpretations.
  • Lack of good process i.e. not transparent or agreed.

If this is the case, we develop appropriate processes and facilitate in a way that works to address these issues in the interests of productive outcomes for our client and their stakeholders.

Contact us now to find out more about how mutual gain negotiation can assist in your situation.

Back to Top