Letter to the Editor: Getting to yes means negotiating properly | SummitDaily.com
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Letter to the Editor: Getting to yes means negotiating properly

Jack Taylor
Heeney

I’d like to expand on Tony Jones’ commentary on March 30 a bit further. All this talk about being left or right of center or being a moderate is just labeling yourself and others. Today, its primary purpose is to insult others with differing opinions. Further, we have media reporting that one side or the other “caved” in negotiations when legislators argue their positions and votes are cast in opposition to those positions.

Way back in the early 1990’s, Roger Fisher and William Ury published a groundbreaking book on interest-based negotiation entitled “Getting to Yes.” I wish this was required reading, if not in schools, then for anyone seeking elected office. Simply put, interest-based negotiation dictates that parties identify their interests while solving a problem. Once interests are presented by all involved, shared interests are identified. Then, and only then, potential resolutions are discussed with the goal of addressing as many of the shared interests as possible in the solution. More times than not, the agreed-upon solution looks nothing like the positions that any side took at the outset of negotiation.

Two local nonprofit organizations, Meridian Institute in Dillon and the Keystone Policy Center in Keystone have used this process to great success locally, nationally and internationally on some incredibly difficult issues. How this has not caught on as a method to engage our most pressing challenges baffles me.



If you’ve not read the book, you can pick up a copy for less than $5. It’ll be the best $5 investment you’ve ever made. Better yet, check out the websites for the Meridian Institute and the Keystone Policy Center to get a better idea of the power of interest-based negotiation. Civil discourse works.


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