Critical success factors for Assisted Dialogue and Negotiation

  • An appraisal, assessment, or analysis for the purpose of understanding the timeliness of the issue and the readiness of conveners, sponsors, and stakeholders to engage and work together, even through potentially difficult moments.
  • Understanding of the negotiation “terrain,” i.e., the negotiation history of the parties; possible focal points or targets of negotiation; potential trade zones; the issues (single or multiple) and how they may link to each other; deadlines; individual stakeholder BATNAs (“best alternative to a negotiated agreement”); respective layers of decision making within stakeholder constituencies; preferred communication styles for conveying and receiving information; identification of potential “undercover mediators.”
  • Rules of engagement acceptable to all.
  • Private and confidential meetings with everyone. (Sooner is usually better than later and more check-ins are better than only once.)
  • PESTLE information (political, economic, social, technical, legal, and environmental) provides a factual foundation and context.
  • Facilitator’s own independence. (See, for example, Keystone’s Statement of Independence)
  • Lots of high quality communication: questions, listening, continuous learning.
  • Willingness to confront the mess by going steadily towards the tensions and core dilemmas that seem to be troubling people.
  • Building a level of interpersonal trust in the room.

About Strategies

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