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More unsolicited impasse advice

Thursday, Oct 29, 2015 - Posted by Rich Miller

* From the Wikiepedia entry for “Getting Past NO”

Getting Past NO (ISBN 978-0-553-37131-4), first published in September 1991 is a reference book on collaborative negotiation in difficult situations. As a negotiating style, it is neither aggressively competitive nor accommodating and cooperative, but both aggressively cooperative. […]

“Build your opponent a golden bridge to retreat across”

    Classic obstacles to an agreement: not their idea, unmet interests, fear of losing face, too much too fast

    Involve the other side: ask for and build on their ideas, ask for a constructive criticism, offer them a choice

    Satisfy unmet interests: don’t dismiss them as irrational, don’t overlook basic human needs, don’t assume a fixed pie

    Help them save face, help write their victory speech

    Go slow to go fast, don’t rush to the line

Ury claimed that a good negotiation is achieved by 2 negotiators meeting their needs- never one more skilled that overpowers the deal. Because if done so the deal itself is weakened as the loser might not recognize his involvement and his interests in the deal.


  1. - Austin Blvd - Thursday, Oct 29, 15 @ 10:20 am:

    But Rauner’s got to want to talk.

  2. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Oct 29, 15 @ 10:28 am:

    Rauner has successfully got past NO by hostile takeover. No negotiations are necessary. You deal with the purchased organization’s staff by firing them and replacing them with cheaper staff. You hire experts that claim to know how to milk profit out of an unprofitable business, then if they fail - you negate their contract and file bankruptcy.

    That is how this man got past NO. That is how he plans to get past NO in Illinois.

    Put up the dough. Threaten and bully. Run ads smearing those saying NO to you. Use your political power to shut down the organization until capitulation.

  3. - Mason born - Thursday, Oct 29, 15 @ 10:32 am:

    The major probem imho is that both sides have painted themselves into a corner where anything less than complete capitulation by the other is a loss.

    A. Rauner is convinced if he can’t get his entire agenda ramed through now then once Dems get a tax increase they will never accept it. (Which they won’t although not for the reasons the gov thinks)

    B. Madigan et al are convinced that if BR feels this tactic is a win he will repeat this mess every budget. (Hard to argue it won’t happen)

    With those starting positions its hard to see where a negotiated middle ground might be. I do applaud Rich for trying.

    At this point we are stuck until something so fundamentally off the scale happens to embarass both sides to find common ground. I’m afraid at this point it would take a loss of life to move these two closer. It will have to be something that hits them all with a lot of blame.

  4. - Harold's Left-wing Dinner - Thursday, Oct 29, 15 @ 10:34 am:

    @Dilemma, I really like your analogy on the “Quotables” thread at 1:44 PM yesterday. It led to uneasy daydreams:

    *knock* *knock*
    H: “Yes?”
    B: “Hello Sir, I’m Bruce with Turnaround Vacuums, and have I got a deal for you.”
    H: “Oh, no thank y— ”
    B: “One second. Just a couple quick questions, and I’ll be on my way. What have you been using?”
    H: “A Quinn Wheez-o-matic.”
    B: “Yow! You’re lucky I knocked. I got to tell you, although your neighbors have some pretty bad vacuums, yours is by far the WORST. How much did you pay for it?”
    H: “Actually, I didn’t. It kind of came with the House.”
    B: “Clearly a terrible, morally bankrupt family lived here for many years.”
    H: “Uh, what exactly are you selling, pal?”
    B: “Selling? This is much more than a sale, my friend! I am giving you the opportunity to embark on a transformative experience to put your house in order in a way that will make you the shining beacon of your neighborhood. Take that patch of obviously expanding filth over there. How’d the Quinn do?”
    H: “Not great. It lightened it up a little, but couldn’t do much more. I don’t see how whatever you’re selling is going to do much better, though. That’s been there since I moved here.”
    B: “Oh trust me, friend, trust me. There’s nothing like a Turnaround Vacuum; it’s just what your home needs. Even the Edgars bought one.”
    H: “Really? Well, that counts for something, I guess. Can I see it?”
    H: “What the ****!”
    B: “Oops. I’ll be happy to show it to you, but first I need to know if you’re going to buy it.” “Sorry about the drop. I really hope nothing else breaks before we close this deal.”
    H: “I see. It’s going to be like that, is it?”
    B: “Like what? It’s an easy decision. I am here to emancipate you from the drudgery the previous owners have ensnared you in. The dust must be busted, turning your home into a glorious zone of domestic empowerment. I offer you a clean sweep, a new beginning, if only you have the courage to say yes!”
    H: “If it gets you out of my house, I’ll consider it. But let’s say I bite. What happens if it doesn’t work?”
    B: “Ha! Don’t you worry: a Turnaround Vacuum is *guaranteed* to suck.”

  5. - Das Man - Thursday, Oct 29, 15 @ 10:40 am:

    2 many imperators spoil the broth

  6. - unspun - Thursday, Oct 29, 15 @ 10:42 am:

    Or you can call your pals at the Chamber and IPI and have them run puffy, platitude pieces urging yourself to “stay strong”. It’s surreal that they think that they are believable or credible.

  7. - Anon - Thursday, Oct 29, 15 @ 10:45 am:

    ===The major probem imho is that both sides have painted themselves into a corner where anything less than complete capitulation by the other is a loss.===

    This isn’t really accurate at all. The governor talked about a budget that was out of balance by billions of dollars and never introduced a budget to the GA.

    The GA passed a budget that was out of balance by billions of dollars, and Rauner vetoed most of it.

    The Democratic majority in the GA is not “painted in a corner” if Bruce Rauner has decided that he does not want to have funds appropriated to the agencies that he is responsible for managing. That whole executive branch thing.

    While I am certain it is frustrating for the lawmakers, and frustrating for the citizens and residents of the state and those that depend on the state for a variety of services, none of those folks are actually painted into a corner.

    That analogy implies that they have no where to go and are forced to accept edicts from a guy who has decided the best way to make demands is by refusing to fund his own agencies.

    A child throwing a tantrum does not paint their parents into a corner. A governor refusing to fund the executive branch does not paint the legislature into a corner.

    Do legislators care about the welfare of their constituents? Absolutely. That’s why they wrote laws that empowered the governor to provide public goods and services.

    The governor is saying “I’m not going to support funding my branch of government to carry out the responsibilities assigned to it by law until you do exactly what I say and deliver the reform and legislation I insist upon.”

    And you know what the most ridiculous part of this is?

    Where’s the governor’s bill?

    Did Jay Hoffman’s dog get it?

  8. - Mama - Thursday, Oct 29, 15 @ 10:54 am:

    ++- VanillaMan - Thursday, Oct 29, 15 @ 10:28 am:++
    Donald Trump sounds a lot like Rauner. I would hate to see a governor and a U.S. president whom both would not blink while our state & country’s economies tank as long as those 2 think they are winning. These 2 men don’t negotiate, they only know how to dictate.

  9. - morningstar - Thursday, Oct 29, 15 @ 10:55 am:

    I thought this commentary from Martha Klems at Tri State Public Radio seemed rational:

  10. - Mama - Thursday, Oct 29, 15 @ 10:55 am:

    I think this important meeting with the 5 leaders should include an impartial mediator.

  11. - Mason born - Thursday, Oct 29, 15 @ 11:03 am:


    All that at this point is irrelevant. I am not defending the gov. yes the lionshare of the blame falls at his feet. It doesn’t matter. We can scream all day that he hasn’t submitted a budget doesn’t care about the citizens doesn’t matter he is the Governor till January ‘19. He isn’t getting recalled. The other side can scream about MJM being the root cause of all of this doesn’t matter he is speaker at least till January ‘17 if not longer.

    The Dems cannot pass a budget without Rauners signature and Rauner can’t do it without Dems. Agreed? If not see the Afscme bill.

    Doesn’t even matter who the hostage taker is none of us get out of this untill Bruce Rauner, Cullerton, and Madigan all find a way to reach a compromise.

    Screaming it’s Bruces fault may be cathartic but it won’t move the needle.

  12. - Mama - Thursday, Oct 29, 15 @ 11:13 am:

    ++- morningstar - Thursday, Oct 29, 15 @ 10:55 am:++ We should send all 5 leaders to that movie or send them the book. Hope they would learn something useful from it.

  13. - Honeybear - Thursday, Oct 29, 15 @ 11:19 am:

    To the WWI analogy, the State of Illinois is landing at Galipoli. At this point, I don’t care who the Generals are. I just want for state to survive the slaughter we’re being thrown into. I don’t think there will be compromise.

  14. - Robert the Bruce - Thursday, Oct 29, 15 @ 11:26 am:

    Is Tom Hanks available to moderate?

  15. - Last Bull Moose - Thursday, Oct 29, 15 @ 11:29 am:

    If this has become a “face” issue, then one side has to win. The rest of us become collateral damage.

    If both sides can pivot and reframe the discussion, there can be solutions. I would like to see a commission formed to develop ways to increase economic growth in Illinois. There are things we could do besides breaking unions and giving subsidies. That could be part of a larger agreement.

  16. - Wordslinger - Thursday, Oct 29, 15 @ 11:30 am:

    I don’t think any of this stuff applies to hostage situations.

    The governor’s position — “I will do great harm to these citizens unless you help me do great harm to those citizens” –ain’t exactly the actions of a man who can be trusted to act in good faith.

    We’re not talking pork-barrel projects here, but real people being harmed.

    You reward hostage-takers, you get more hostages.

  17. - Enviro - Thursday, Oct 29, 15 @ 11:36 am:

    ==Use a third party to promote negotiation, stop attacks, educate the other side.==

    Education about the impact of all proposals is the answer, not attacks.

  18. - Enviro - Thursday, Oct 29, 15 @ 11:38 am:

    ==Education about the impact of all proposals is the answer, not attacks.==

    By this I mean educating the public as well as the legislators. This will take a lot of time.

  19. - Ghost - Thursday, Oct 29, 15 @ 11:44 am:

    jimmy carter, imho has the best method. first identify all the common ground, everything you do agree on already…. then build out from there.

  20. - AC - Thursday, Oct 29, 15 @ 11:56 am:

    The problem of reaching a deal with the governor is that he has a negative rather than a positive goal. If he truly wanted to improve the business climate, and the cost structure for businesses, then we’d had a deal by now. The problem is that, more than anything, he wants to radically diminush the power of unions, and collective bargaining in particular. Every Governor’s so far that Madigan has dealt with has been primarily what they can do to improve the lives of their constituents, none have had the goal of decimating a particular group.

  21. - Robert the Bruce - Thursday, Oct 29, 15 @ 12:03 pm:

    ==ain’t exactly the actions of a man who can be trusted to act in good faith.==
    Excellent point. Rauner has lied repeatedly, even to legislators from his own party about what he’ll support.

    But the D strategy of not budging on anything (no negotiated movement on workers comp / fair maps / tort reform) clearly hasn’t worked.

    And so real people continue to be harmed.

  22. - crazybleedingheart - Thursday, Oct 29, 15 @ 12:07 pm:

    Only the last point in Getting to No is relevant to dealing with Rauner. It’s not about building a golden bridge for him to escape and save face. It’s about using power to educate him into reality.

    Rauner is rich and powerful. But not rich enough or powerful enough to both achieve the Turnaround Agenda AND look like a hero.

    Both objectives may be important to him, but in this state, doing one means failing at the other.

    It’s time for him to choose and getting past no means getting him to acknowledge that this is the only realistic choice.

  23. - crazybleedingheart - Thursday, Oct 29, 15 @ 12:10 pm:

    Speaking here of this:

    Don’t escalate: Use power to educate

    “The best general is the one who never fights” (Sun Tzu)

    Warn don’t threaten

    Let them know the consequences, ask reality-testing questions: what do you think I will do? What will you do?

    Demonstrate your BATNA at a minimum and a legitimate way without provoking

    Use a third party to promote negotiation, stop attacks, educate the other side

    Keep sharpening their choice: let them know you have a way out, let them choose, negotiate even if you can win

    Aim for mutual satisfaction not victory

    Forge a lasting agreement

    Although all the previous chapter was designed to explain the “good behavior” a negotiator might follow to cool himself down or the other negotiator, Ury presents here the authorized more aggressive techniques that a negotiator could draw legitimately in case of closed situation.


    Once Rauner makes the choice, Dems can help him build a golden bridge of retreat and “win.”

    But first, he needs a come-to-Jesus moment.

  24. - DuPage - Thursday, Oct 29, 15 @ 12:14 pm:

    I would not trust Rauner to raise revenue even if the Dems gave him everything he demands. Rauner would just say “I have given the schools, universities, community colleges, and all local governments the tools they need to get by without raising taxes. Therefore there is no need to raise taxes.”
    Translation: Bust the unions, cut pay and benefits, and change prevailing wage to minimum wage.

  25. - crazybleedingheart - Thursday, Oct 29, 15 @ 12:15 pm:

    “If you can’t so much as buy paper or gas up the state vehicles anymore, what do you think I will do? What will you do?”

    “If more municipalities shut off your utilities and more personally-known, locally-loved mayors trash your loan idea in the paper, what do you think I will do? What will you do?”

    “When the frail elderly get their heat shut off this winter, what do you think I will do? What will you do?”

  26. - Juvenal - Thursday, Oct 29, 15 @ 12:46 pm:

    Crazybleedingheart is spot-on:

    “If the state police are forced to shut down Illinois interstates for days this winter because there is no salt for the roads or gas for the plows, what do you think I will do? What will you do?”

  27. - Anonymous - Thursday, Oct 29, 15 @ 12:54 pm:

    Need a profiler and hostage negotiator impute

  28. - crazybleedingheart - Thursday, Oct 29, 15 @ 1:34 pm:

    Luckily, the public budget meeting should help with the clarity of the choices.

    “If you (Rauner) show up with a chicken and a powerpoint but without a reality-based budget proposal, what do you think I (Madigan) will do? What will you do?”

  29. - Formerly Known As... - Thursday, Oct 29, 15 @ 2:51 pm:

    ==The major probem imho is that both sides have painted themselves into a corner where anything less than complete capitulation by the other is a loss.==


    It did not have to be like this, but their egos have helped make it so.

  30. - Anon - Thursday, Oct 29, 15 @ 3:11 pm:


    ====The Dems cannot pass a budget without Rauners signature and Rauner can’t do it without Dems. Agreed? If not see the Afscme bill.===

    Yes. That’s how it works but this principle does not mean that anyone is painted into a corner. The AFSCME Bill is different from this situation because it failing override was actually a victory for the governor. Refusing to enact a budget to fund his own government is not.

    ===Doesn’t even matter who the hostage taker is none of us get out of this untill Bruce Rauner, Cullerton, and Madigan all find a way to reach a compromise.===

    OW has had influence on me. He’s on to something with this “Governors own” line he keeps repeating. No one is painted in a corner. You can say Rauner is holding the budget hostage if you want, but the Governor depends on the budget more than the legislature. The legislature does not run state agencies.

    You’re demanding a “compromise” when so far the Governor has only offered to “compromise” on things that he proposed that were unreasonable, ridiculous, or illegal. Dropping an illegal demand is not compromising.

    Have you considered what position Rauner is going to accept? So far he seems pretty firm on this “ending collective bargaining” nonsense.

    The man controls a third of the government and blackmails a minority of the other third of the government.

    One does not move legislators with sticks, and beating someone with a stick and then offering to beat them with a smaller stick as a compromise. Suggesting “I will beat you with this stick and then you can beat yourself with it when I am done.” is likewise not a reasonable position.

    ===Screaming it’s Bruces fault may be cathartic but it won’t move the needle.===

    The Governor owns. The Governor failed to uphold his constitutional duty of introducing a budget. The Governor has made it pretty clear that he thinks by doing this he’ll get other laws enacted that he wants.

    To suggest that it’s someone else’s doing would be to suggest that you think the role of the legislature in a republican form of government is to do exactly what the executive branch wants.

    What needle are you trying to move? Rauner’s needle?

  31. - Dilemma - Thursday, Oct 29, 15 @ 3:22 pm:

    @Ghost ==jimmy carter, imho has the best method. first identify all the common ground, everything you do agree on already…. then build out from there.==

    The problem is that there is not a huge dispute when it comes to the thing we need most. If the only issue was the budget, that would be easily resolved. I have yet to hear any major cuts proposed by the governor, and the democrats most recently cut taxes at the governor’s request. I’m sure there are some small things to debate, but the budget is an easy fix.

    If we were doing what we could and then building out from there, we would be far, far better off than we are today. The problem of course is that the things we can do are being held hostage to try to force the majority party to capitulate to demands that could never succeed on their own.

    WC, Tort, maps and term limits are all a smoke screen for the prevailing wage/collective bargaining demands. All evidence points to everything hinging on the governor’s union related demands.

    We can hypothesize about alternate economic solutions or middle ground on the smoke screen items, but none of that will matter.

  32. - Mason born - Thursday, Oct 29, 15 @ 3:39 pm:


    You have completely missed my point. I am well aware of checks and balances in our Republic.

    My point is this it doesn’t matter who’s fault this is. None of us get out of this until both sides reach a compromise. BOTH SIDES. If either side refuses to find common ground this disaster continues.

    The governor can own this all day long and it won’t matter one iota till Nov. 2018. It won’t move either side closer. It’s pretty obvious at this time the Gov. is wiling to “own” this or believes he can gift it to Dems.

    If you read all I wrote I stated I don’t think anything happens until something major changes the paradigm. For both sides.

    The rhetoric of both sides is what has painted them into a corner.

    As for the needle I’m trying to move it would be the one that gets us away from a war of words and towards a budget.

    If you want to scream it’s BR fault go ahead you aren’t wrong. He doesn’t bear all the blame but more than 3/4 of it.

    Personally I think Madigan should come out and offer a fair maps proposal in public as well as some reasonable worker comp changes to show his openness to reform. I don’t think for a second BR gives a rats behind for fair map but it is a popular “reform” and forces Rauner to either take it as a win or talk down a popular reform.

  33. - RNUG - Thursday, Oct 29, 15 @ 4:43 pm:

    - VanillaMan - @ 10:28 am:

    Your comments are spot on today. Well done!

  34. - burbanite - Thursday, Oct 29, 15 @ 6:24 pm:

    What we need is, extreme moderation.

  35. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Thursday, Oct 29, 15 @ 11:30 pm:


    Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

    You are engaging in old-fashioned positional bargaining. Getting to Yes, and Getting Past No, is Interest-based bargaining:

    Engaging in positional bargaining will only encourage both sides to entrench in their extremes. It is exactly your “both sides must meet in the middle” approach that causes both sides to take the most extreme initial position and dig in hard, so that the final “middle” is more to their liking.

    Madigan ought to come to the meeting on the 18th with a budget he will pledge to put 16 Democrats on that does not require a tax hike.

    He also ought to come to the meeting with a “Common Ground Agenda” of items he believes Democrats and Republicans can work together on to grow the economy once the budget is passed.

    Rauner ought to come to the meeting with a revenue package he believes he can commit every Rupublican will support.

    And he ought to come to the meeting with a list of ideas he believes Democrats and Republicans can work together on to strengthen the middle class once a budget agreement is reached.

    Both sets ideas address the stated principles of the other party, looking for Win-Win solutions.

  36. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Thursday, Oct 29, 15 @ 11:41 pm:


    I would never suggest rewarding the hostage takers. I think the fact that Rauner is being dragged by his ear into study hall by Susan Garrett is frankly humiliating. But it had to be done.

    At the same time, people negotiate with hostage takers all the time. You do it not by rewarding the hostage taking, but negotiating based on principles.

    At the end of the day, if the hostage takers real intent is to shoot the hostages, it doesn’t matter if you negotiate with them or not. If any thing, negotiating with them at least diminishes their social standing and shelters you from criticism.

  37. - C.L. Ball - Friday, Oct 30, 15 @ 4:41 pm:

    @Yellow Dog Democrat & Mason

    What are Madigan and Rauner’s BATNAs — best alternatives to a negotiated agreement? Who is hurt more by the status quo?

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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