Negotiate or Flight-or-Flight II – Emotional Traps

Last week, I described a framework for making a decision to either negotiate or to flight-or-fight. This framework was developed by Robert Mnookin and detailed in his book, Bargaining with the Devil. His framework is meant to be used totally rationally, without recourse to emotion or intuition. But that is silly. Recent research has proven that nearly all decisions are made emotionally, then justified using logic and reason.

So here are some of the emotional traps that we can fall into. We must deal with these emotions first, or there is no real decision. Each pair of traps represent the extreme ends of a particular spectrum.

So what should I do?

Emotions are very powerful influences in negotiation. How do I overcome them?

First, Examine your own self-talk and recognize the traps, both positive and negative. Listen to the words you say.

Next, listen to the words those around you say. It is often easy to fit their comments into these categories.

Then, consider the mirror view. Does it make sense? Try to add balance. Sometimes these views are valid, in full or in part.

Finally, discuss this situation with a colleague who plays the rational role and presses the questions from the prior post. Think of having a Dr. Spock to your James Kirk.

Tribalism ⇔ Universalism.

Tribalism says “my group is familiar and reliable and this other group is not.”
Universalism declares “all groups are the same and there are no differences.”

Demonization ⇔ Contextual Rationalization

Demonization alleges “the other side is evil to the core.”
Contextual Rationalization maintains “the other side is subject to external pressures and is therefore without guilt or fault.

Dehumanization ⇔ Rehabilitation and Redemption

Dehumanization views “the other side is less than human.” (prejudice, racism, discrimination)
The Rehabilitation and Redemption view avers that “everyone is capable of change and can be rehabilitated.”

Moralism / Self-Righteousness ⇔ Shared Fault and Responsibility

Moralism / Self-Righteousness says “the other side is entirely at fault and we are entirely innocent.”
Shared Fault and Responsibility suggests “there is fault everywhere, both sides contribute to the issue.”

Zero Sum ⇔ Win-WIn

Zero Sum views the issue as a fixed-pie, “What they win, I lose, and vice versa.”
Win-Win thinks that “the pie can always be expanded.”

Flight-or-Fight ⇔  Appeasement

Flight-or-Fight advocates an automatic reaction to “charge headlong into battle or immediately flee.”
Appeasement says “any agreement, even a bad one, is better than a conflict.”

Call to Battle ⇔ Call to Peace

The Call to Battle occurs as the group leader mobilizes his followers for all out war, usually using emotional appeals based on the above negative items. He will claim this is for the good of the group, but often he has personal interests also.
The Call to Peace is based on the idea that all conflict can be avoided. This is also based on the above positive items.