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JDS Kerrigan Rebuttle
Wrap Up


Sotts Clubs Author Chris
Wrap Up

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After the interview, I saw John as a businessman who

thoroughly enjoys the challenge industry offers, but who is

foremost an adventurer at heart. His answers demonstrated a

keen understanding of the bargaining process that only a

seasoned pro would possess-- one whose surprisingly high

level of enthusiasm makes me believe negotiating will

continue to be enjoyable for him.


He defines his approach as a systems process with the

key factor being planning and preparation. John calls this

pre-negotiation; assessing positions, strength, deadlines and

most importantly, information about the other side. He

states that being a system it is imperative to discover the

common grounds and minimize the negatives. The text, as well

as class discussions, stressed the importance of this

preparation and planning. John appears to concur with this,

but once the planning is complete it becomes a challenge and

a game-- a game to win. Although he discussed the

integrative approach and defined an effective negotiation as

one where "both sides obtain what they sought", John also

stated that he carries the prime rule of the military,

"control the battlefield", into a negotiation. It is

comments like this one which make me feel that John is an

adventurer and second a negotiator and his approach in most

cases is distributive, in military terms; "search and destroy."


In pursuing the desired outcome, John defends the use of

virtually any tactic. Throughout the interview he addresses

them all, and is apparently quite aware of their affects and

implications on the process and the individuals involved.

His answer "yes" to; "do the ends justify the means"

legitimizes the use of power, threats and force when

considered necessary and appropriate. This he calls

"parading the troops". He firmly believes that threatens or

intimidation are ok to use, but using them if they produce

the desired results.


John is articulate, competitive, precise and extremely

thorough in his approach. His pre-negotiation stage allows

him to identify and clarify the issue and positions available

to both sides. The approach he takes into the process

depends on these perceived strengths and weaknesses-- for

example; "I can be most cooperative when not in a position to

bargain". It is

situation which determines the posture

he will take, not the other side's position.


It is unfair, however to dissect and attempt to analyze

each and every one of John's responses to my questions. It

is obvious that he has mastered the tools of the trade. He

is keenly aware of the factors, variables and underlying

psychological issues implicit in the human side of the

process. But his approach remains consistent and quite

clear, at least in my observation. John prefers the

distributive approach. He localizes the situation,

identifies his strengths and uses them to reach his

objectives. Although he works towards a win/win solution

when possible, I expect it is usually on his terms.


The text notes that in its more competitive forms,

concealment between parties can cause misunderstandings and

the feeling that the other side is dishonest or deceptive.

Sometimes this results in the inability to come to a workable

agreement. This can be reduced when negotiators start off

careful but reveal more and more of their true needs as they

come to trust the other side. John takes this approach but

admitted that he still would never reveal his whole position.

I believe that the ability to uncover solutions to

complex issues requires first; honest and open communication,

and second, a cooperative environment where the negotiators

feel unthreatened. Creativity and innovation will not be

effective if one side feels too threatened and intimidated by

the other. When this happens, the break off of negotiations

becomes a strong possibility because of one side's

frustration and anger over the other's behavior. The

attitudes and perceptions we have of the other side are not

always reality-based. While they may behave consistent with

our image of them, the perception may create far more

conflict than actually exists. Emotion, like perception, can

also negatively impact the ability of the parties to reach an

agreement. Both sides must be sensitive to this and not let

misconceptions rule the process.

John takes a very controlled and clinical approach to

negotiating. He can separate emotion from enthusiasm,

maintaining a highly focused perspective throughout the

process. I have difficulty staying focused if I allow

emotion to take over, which sometimes occurs. \it is

extremely difficult for me to effectively represent a

position I do not believe fair. Most importantly, in my mind

the ends very often do not justify the mean. there is a

moral and ethical boundary one must consider, whether or not

commonly shared among people.

The text states that one of the cardinal rules of

successful negotiation is "settlements that address the needs

of both parties are the most durable and satisfying ones".

This is more likely achieved through cooperation, not

intimidation. My approach to negotiation may be simplistic

and possibly naive, but I almost exclusively attempt to

follow the integrative approach. In a true integrative

process all information is shared openly. The process is

based on trust and honesty requiring a demonstration of good

faith from both sides from the start. The best solutions I

feel are founded on valid and truthful information sharing.

In presenting the facts and listening carefully to the other

side's points of view and concerns, mutually agreeable

solutions to problems can be identified. My weakness is

being too direct and too impatient, sometimes allowing my

emotions to cloud my understanding of the bargaining climate

at specific points in time.

No matter what method or strategy taken, conflict will

be resolved only when the desire of the two sides to reach an

agreement is greater than their need or willingness to break

off the relationship. Conflict or the use of force more

frequently leads to retaliation and escalation than

conflict reduction. Cooperation, I feel, is the better road

to follow.

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