We don’t believe in cutting the pie in half and calling it a day.
This common approach to conflicts usually leads to wasted value and no real improvement to the relationships between those affected.
At NAI, we believe that before anything else, the participants in any conflict or potential conflict have to better understand one another as well as the history of their relationship and differences. We apply this approach equally to warring governments, tense union contract negotiations, embattled business partners, or couples simply trying to improve their personal relationships for themselves or their children.
We believe that having a common vocabulary can help improve communication, unveiling a wide range of interests, some different, some the same—all of which can lead to “the pie” getting a lot bigger before it’s divided, assuming it ever has to be divided. In complex contract negotiations, differences tend to focus on dollar values, as opposed to a much wider and deeper set of interests that can allow for a more robust, mutually satisfying deal to be reached. And whenever value does have to be divided, for the sake of the relationship and perceived fairness, we apply robust, well-researched independent standards to determine who gets what—and how.
Once interests are uncovered, options for agreement explored, and standards applied judiciously, new agreements and new paths forward be found that meet the financial, emotional and relationship interests of all involved. If this approach is properly employed with our guidance, clients often can have their needs met in ways they could never have imagined at the outset.
From Union Contract Negotiations & Boardroom Conflicts, to Contract Negotiations
We help mediate, manage and negotiate relationships between:
- Unions and management teams, including union contract negotiations
- Couples in personal relationships, marriages, and separation or divorce proceedings
- Family-owned businesses grappling with control, succession or management issues
- Consulting firms and their clients when arrangements don’t go as planned
- Executives and employers in their contract negotiations
- Companies working through disputes or opportunities with other companies, governments or individuals
- Nations dealing with other governments, including aboriginal negotiations
Our clients know that our firm’s integrity, reputation, experience, creativity and smarts will ensure they’ll get better settlements that are worth more, however worth is to be measured.
Our goal is to build a strong foundation for clients, and then disengage ourselves as quickly as possible, because we believe that the more people can learn to deal with differences on their own, the faster new heights can be reached as they build or re-build their relationships.
Our team has decades of experience in this realm of conflict management, from facilitating difficult contract negotiations in the software industry and managing intergovernmental relations, to mediating spousal disputes and guiding labor and management teams through union contract negotiations. Whatever your specific needs, NAI is ready to help. Sometimes, we will even train all parties to a dispute together, providing shared vocabulary, problem-solving tools, and helpful mindsets before actually beginning to mediate their differences.
All of our work draws on decades of research at Harvard University, hundreds of case studies and client engagements, and the unique expertise and groundbreaking contributions to the modern negotiation field of our firm’s founder, Peter D. Johnston.
Peter’s award-winning book, Negotiating with Giants, relays lessons from our firm’s advisory work, research, and some of history’s most difficult negotiations, including trade deals, hostage-takings, business contract negotiations, and union contract negotiations. His results in the field of negotiation and mediation have been formally recognized by the United States Government for their positive economic and social impact, domestically and abroad.
Contact us to learn more, or to check our availability for helping you manage an important relationship, dispute or opportunity.