Let’s Sit Down on the Same Side of the Table!

Thinking Ahead

Posted on

30 Mar


Dittmar & Indrenius > Insight > Let’s Sit Down on the Same Side of the Table!

Despite wanting to be (and perhaps believing that we are) rational beings, each of us humans reacts emotionally in every situation.

That is why first encounters are so important: the way we enter a meeting room or start negotiations and the way we initially frame the common task we are gathered to solve. The more contentious and emotional a situation is, the more important it is how we get started and how we frame our mutual objective.

Will we enter the meeting room and behave aggressively and confrontationally? Or will we greet the people on the other side as you would a new colleague or team member whom you’ve dreamed of playing on the same team with?

Are we aiming at achieving a quick win over an opponent or do we aim at reaching a good and sustainable solution, taking into account the legitimate interests of both parties and based on objective and mutually approved criteria?

Our emotional reactions vary drastically, depending on how the opposing party approaches us. And during those first stressful minutes of the meeting we subjectively react to every sign that we can read from the behaviour of the other party.

Why not suggest sitting down on the same side of the table? Why not frame the conflicting interests as a joint and common challenge that we are committed to working on together? All with the aim of finding a reasonable solution based on objective criteria and taking into account all legitimate interests?

A reasonable solution reached voluntarily and in good spirit by the parties and based on objective and fair criteria is sustainable. No one feels cheated, threatened or coerced into a solution, but can stand behind it and explain how it is rational, relying on objective criteria.

A good agreement or settlement is one that both parties want to enforce, not challenge. That is why such agreements lead to fewer disputes and less need for renegotiation. Good agreements are effective, also when considering costs, and they build relationships. Relationships bring new opportunities, perhaps opportunities that neither party could imagine when they entered into the negotiations.

Next time you enter a room with an adverse party presenting unreasonable claims, try to imagine what a fruitful relationship based on mutual trust and common, transparent and reasonable criteria could bring the parties in the coming years.

The world is full of opportunities and we need each other to explore and realise them fully.

Let’s sit down on the same side of the table and work together to find sustainable solutions!

After all, every encounter is an opportunity.

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