One of the most common obstacles I see people struggle to overcome in mediation and negotiation is their compulsion to fight over diverging positions, rather than exploring one another’s core interests. This is usually because, when people disagree, their first instinct is to disarm the other side’s argument, and enforce their own – in order to simply win. Reaching strong and lasting accord requires much more. Identifying, and consistently re-evaluating the values and desires that lie beneath the surface of our disputes (focusing on interests rather than positions) helps avoid this common pitfall, and makes for much more rewarding outcomes.
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