Day 2 of Interest Based Negotiation for Mercy Corps in Amman
Today was the second and last day of Interest Based Negotiation: Getting Past No.
However, before we got into the content, we spent about an hour discussing BATNAs and working through different, increasingly complex negotiation scenarios. This cleared up participants’ confusion.
Unfortunately, that night (during my shower, of course) I rethought the entire thing and realized that I was way off base. I came up with this instead:
The Relationship Between Essential Interests and BATNA
Essential Interests answer the question: What do I absolutely NEED?
Essential Interests have two separate uses:
- to determine which negotiated option is best
- to identify the best alternative if an agreement cannot be negotiated (BATNA)
The Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement answers the question: If I can’t satisfy my Essential Interests through negotiation, what other alternatives exist within my span of control that could help me get those Essential Interests satisfied?
For example, if you won’t agree to perform a specific service for a specific price, my BATNA will be to find someone else who will.
Another example, if you won’t agree to a fair objective standard so that we can negotiate an agreement, my BATNA will be to find someone in authority who can pressure you to do what I want to accomplish.
One party’s BATNA will quite often have a negative impact on the other party. For example, if I find someone else to provide the service I want, you will have lost a potential client, which might lessen your potential income.
Another example, if I find someone in authority to pressure you, that may be more unpleasant than negotiating an agreement with me right now.
A BATNA can be mentioned during a stalled negotiation to motivate the other party to work toward a negotiated agreement rather than suffer the consequences if the BATNA is implemented.
If no agreement can be negotiated between the two parties, then both will then implement their BATNAs.
I’m waiting to hear what Zaid thinks before I bring it up a final time with the participants.
This was a difficult day in many respects. When I arrived in the training room, I discovered that an entire bag of candy, a Koosh ball and a soft die were missing. I know that the hotel staff had seen me collect the candy from the tables and put it into a plastic bag, which I then placed into my suitcase. The Koosh ball and soft die were missing immediately after the participants left the session, but they also might have been taken by staff who came in to clear cups and plates during breaks. It is just so disappointing.
That night, I put everything in my suitcase and locked it. The managers were very concerned and took care to be there when I left the room (at 7 p.m.) to lock it up and leave the key with security.
One module of today’s training concerns active listening. I start off the module by asking the participants to identify inflammatory comments that people make. Then, no matter how often I modeled and explained how to paraphrase and then ask an open-ended clarifying question; or stressed how important it was to simply reflect back to the speaker what you think was said- without expressing what you think or feel about the statement, most of the participants had extreme difficulty. It wasn’t until we broke for lunch at 1 that I finally understood the problem: they were so inflamed by the comments that they couldn’t calm down enough to paraphrase rather than immediately react and propose solutions.
At lunch, I sat with Michael who owns his own company and has done social media contract work with Mercy Corps for the past three years. He explained how he met his Jordanian wife passing in an airport; that he really enjoys working with the Mercy Corps project folks- particularly when they go out into the field to interview people and film documentaries. He has two little children, who are growing up trilingual: Arabic, Dutch and English. His family travels to visit Holland twice a year to stay for a month at a time, while his folks come to visit once a year and stay for a while. During that time, he takes them to all of the interesting sites and ruins throughout Jordan.
I asked him if he has planted any tulips and he says that he always brings tulip and other flower bulbs from Holland to plant in his in-laws garden, where they bloom profusely.
He has a company that installs water basins that enable people to plant crops and flowers in desert areas. They also sell organic fertilizer, seeds, etch. It sounds fantastic. They also do a variety of projects to improve the quality of life for people in poor circumstances. They got people to donate money so that they could build a chicken coop and provide chickens, feed and information. Unfortunately, the chickens died during the recent cold weather.
In the afternoon, we had to make up a lot of lost time, so instead of small group activities I had to use large group discussion for over an hour. Not ideal, but necessary.
Then it was time for people to take the post-test. Because of the difficulty some people have in reading English, what should have taken 5 minutes was taking 15 minutes and counting. I felt stressed by the fact that I knew Hala had to leave by 5 or shortly thereafter because she has to pick up her son at daycare. I finally asked Zaid to have one woman leave the room to complete her posttest while we scored it in the room. She was gracious about it and I was incredibly grateful!
Everyone did much better on the post test, a few were just a few points shy from 100%, and one young woman scored 21/21 correct, whereas she had previously only had 11/21 correct. So yay them and yay me!
After people left, I needed to move all of the pipe cleaner creativity to my pipe cleaner creativity table, reorganize the materials on the participant tables, take down the Interest Based Negotiation agenda map (which Zaid took) put up the agenda map for Designing and Delivering Dynamic Learning, and write out the learning objectives from all 6 days on flip charts for a beginning activity the next day.
When I got back to my room after 7 p.m., I had to create two certificates of completion templates for Mercy Corps to duplicate for the participants in both classes. I also completed and submitted a proposal.
I haven’t been able to get to bed until 1 a.m. and I’m seriously sleep deprived. But during my shower, I realized how very wrong my belabored explanation of BATNA really was- and what it should look like instead. So I had to type that out and send it to Zaid before I went to bed.