Some Generalizations from the “Fiscal Cliff” Negotiation
Here are a few observations, from my perspective, about the December 2012/January 2013 “Fiscal Cliff” negotiations, which maybe one can generalize as also applicable to many mediated/negotiated settlements:
∙ One side generally has more leverage than the other.
∙ The side with leverage still needs to “give in” to some degree in order for the other side to “save face.”
∙ Each side must give up something to get something.
∙ Neither side gets its ideal outcome but rather an outcome that both sides sometimes can just barely tolerate, which everybody dislikes to some degree.
∙ Neither side gets what solely works for that side; both sides must share the benefits/burdens in some fashion.
∙ When the benefits are perceived as greater as a result of the negotiated deal than otherwise, the deal will happen.
∙ When the risks of not doing the deal are perceived as greater than making the deal, the deal will happen.
∙ Those individuals who are not participating firsthand in the negotiations and feeling the tug of the exchange may criticize and/or endanger the deal.
∙ It is OK to change course, i.e., to change one’s mind.
∙ Try not to paint yourself into a corner or you may get stuck.
∙ If you can’t do the whole deal, sometimes a partial deal may be better than no deal at all.
∙ There is nothing like a real deadline to make the deal happen.
This is my perception of what occurred in the latest “Fiscal Cliff” negotiations, but I think these generalizations have broader application in the world of mediation.