“Negotiations are not a sign of weakness but wisdom”, writes attorney-at-law Pirkka-Marja Põldvere
For some reason we often meet pointless stiffness when communicating with partners in our business culture.
Again and again I can hear from clients: “I will go to court just out of principle!” or “s/he will not get this as a present!” This attitude has appeared even if litigation is clearly more expensive and – considering the evidence – sometimes even without any prospects. Some people unfortunately and mistakenly assume that negotiations with the other side diminish their importance and merit, or that, by settling, they somehow confirm that they lack the strength and confidence required for business(men). It would be way more reasonable to be flexible and inventive and try to find the best possible solution for all parties.
One gets the peels, the other juice
Negotiations are, in simple words, a process of gathering information about the position and limits of both parties, making decisions based on this and, if possible, agreeing on the solution, which is (most) suitable to everyone. Negotiations are necessary to understand the other side’s interpretations, values, evidence, as well as willingness to settle.
The compromise might not always be the mathematical medium (half and half of the orange), but rather a solution that takes into consideration the circumstances of the particular dispute, as well as the needs and options of both parties (one gets the peels, the other juice).
Settle at the right time
The human strength lies in the ability to settle at the right moment. There has been a lot of discussion also at our political scene on whether a leader should, in fact, listen to others, discuss, negotiate etc. I am convinced that on should. However, it is important to find the right time for drawing conclusions and making decisions based on this information. Without collecting information it is not possible to make adequate decisions neither in politics nor in business. Further, in the process of negotiations one must also be aware of his/her own limits, both economical and legal.
I really hope that Estonian entrepreneurs will have enough courage and wisdom to initiate negotiations when dissensions arise. Not all disputes can be resolved by negotiations but, before making this conclusion, one should definitely check out the options.
Forming a negative attitude without talking to one’s partner is generally premature and might bring along an extensive, pointless, costly and exhausting court dispute. It would be wiser to take a joint effort and avoid it.