50 SHADES OF NEGOTIATION GREY
Being able to see all the facets of an issue enhances your ability to negotiate a settlement. You can best meet your opponent’s arguments if you take the time to put yourself in that person’s shoes long enough to figure out what those arguments are. Then you can best meet them.
While it is appropriate to research all the facts and law that help predict an outcome, when researchers choose to dismiss negative findings, they will not be able to constructively negotiate. Only interpreting findings as favorable, a mindset known as confirmation bias, prolongs conflict.
When initial research reveals negative information, the impulse may be to just keep digging. This attitude manifests itself in the actions of litigators who, for example, keep designating treaters and experts in the hope that somebody will back up their position. An analogy might be to a company which continually engages in research and development, but never actually brings a product to market. That’s not what success looks like.
Grey Is Stressful
Uncertainty generates stress. Parties in mediation sometimes tell me how relieved they are that the dispute is over, even when they got a result they see as unfavorable.
Settlement isn’t about who’s right and who’s wrong. It’s about showing everyone that concluding the dispute is in their own self-interest. Mediation is the place to do that.