Mediators sometimes talk about your “BATNA” — a term coined by Roger Fisher and William Ury in Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In. “BATNA” is an acronym for “Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement. ” When you understand your BATNA, you have a way to evaluate a possible negotiated agreement against the best option you face if you do not reach agreement. Just a word about that word “Best” — best is based on a realistic probability of success, not a fantasy. Measuring “best” may be difficult; even deciding what outcomes and consequences should be measured to create a BATNA may be challenging. Yet without some standard against which to measure a proposed negotiated agreement, you cannot weigh whether a proposal is definitely too good to let go, clearly too bad to accept, or somewhere in between.
Posted in Basics of Mediation and Conflict, Monday, June 18th, 2007