From the desk of My Collaborative Team President, Edward S. Sachs, CPA
Interest Based Negotiation is the cornerstone of Collaborative Practice. We begin the Process by discussing and eliciting the goals of the Clients. It is those goals that guide us through the Process.
Just as it is the job of the professionals to control the Process, it is also the job of all four professionals to control the negotiations. From your initial contact with the Clients you should be trying to determine, directly or indirectly, what are their goals and interests. Every meeting, whether individually or as a team, should have on its agenda a discussion of goals.
But I believe it is ultimately the role of the neutrals to facilitate Interest Based Negotiations.
When I meet with the Client individually or with their attorney, I am always listening carefully to determine their goals and interests. When we are preparing for a team meeting and I am providing them the financial information needed to make decisions, feedback provides a glimpse of their interests. As options are being formed, we are gaining an understanding of those goals and interest.
The same is happening as the Facilitator is working with the clients on the parenting plan.
And during team meetings, it is the neutrals who are leading the negotiations. It is their responsibility to use what the team has learned to guide the clients through the steps of IBN. First discuss their goals. Then build options, not offers. Put the options on a white board or large post-its. Analyze and evaluate the options and help the clients navigate to a solution.
Its easy to slip back into positional bargaining. It is the role of the neutrals to steer the team back to the parties’ goals and interests.