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6.1 Understand Your Opportunities to Negotiate
6.2 Identify Your Negotiating Goals
6.3 Choose Your Negotiating Strategy
6.4 Create a Positive Climate for Negotiation
6.5 Improve Your Negotiating Strength
6.6 Turn to Outside Negotiators

All planning for forest use and conservation faces conflicts over "Trees and forests for whom and for what?" (Box 35). These conflicts result from differences in what people want and value, and how they define priorities. Conflict negotiation is when two or more persons with different priorities attempt to reach solutions that will be acceptable to everyone.

Box 35. Frequent Conflicts in Strategic Planning for Forests

· Land-use competition between forestry, grazing, agriculture, and minerals.

· Disagreements over the size, location, and composition of a permanent forest estate.

· Conflicts between de jure (legal) and de facto (traditional) tenure in forested regions.

· Competition between commercial and subsistence interests in forested regions.

· Outdated laws on lands and forests, and conflicts among these laws.

· Overlapping concessions on public forest lands.

· Impractical laws and regulations for trees and forests on private lands.

· Concentration of forest use rights in the hands of politically influential persons.

· Forced relocation of communities when forested lands are set aside for national parks, infrastructure projects, and other developments.

· Disagreements about use rights for timber, water, game, fuelwood, and other forest resources.

· Inadequate consultation with women as forest users at the community level.

· Disagreements over planting native vs. exotic tree species.

· Disagreements about criteria and indicators of sustainable forest management.

· Lack of communication between and among interest groups

· Disagreements among the national government, external aid agencies, and NGOs on priorities for forest use and conservation

A planning team faces several forms of conflict. First are disagreements within the planning team and its advisory committees.. Second are disagreements between your forestry agency and one or more interest groups. Third are disagreements between two or more interest groups external to your agency, but which need to be resolved in order for the planning to move forward.

Depending on how well they are managed, these conflicts can be a productive aspect of the planning. They indicate the existence of multiple viewpoints, and the competition of ideas. But when serious conflicts are not resolved, they can totally destroy the planning process.

In this chapter, we lead you through a few basic principles of effective negotiation. Your capacity to translate these principles into results depends on your commitment and negotiating skills. Like other skills in planning, negotiation needs to be continuously improved through a process of goals, actions, and feedback.

6.1 Understand Your Opportunities to Negotiate

You begin by distinguishing conflicts that are negotiable from those that are not. Each individual in a conflict needs a clear view of what it wants, and how this requires the cooperation of another person. Each individual must perceive that negotiation offers a positive gain or reduction of a potential loss. Third, each individual must recognize what the other person's need is, and then be willing to discuss a range of solutions that may satisfy those needs. If one or more of these conditions is not met, there can be no negotiation. We illustrate with an example (Box 36).

Your agency is not in a good position to negotiate without a clear assessment of (1) the conflicting sides to an issue, and (2) the behavioral strategies that people will employ to get their way. You need to thoroughly research these issues. Moreover, you need to choose the leaders of your planning team and advisory committees for their skills in negotiation. In many practical cases, this should be the primary criterion for their selection. Worksheet 36 helps you examine the attitudes and behavior of good negotiators.

6.2 Identify Your Negotiating Goals

Before you negotiate either formally or informally, you should try to anticipate the best and worst possible results that could occur. Good negotiators are able to visualize the best possible outcome of a negotiation process, and work hard to achieve it. This is your ideal goal, and the maximum you can expect when everything goes well. At the same time, you must define the minimum you can accept. This minimum is your "walk away" position, meaning that you have a better option than to continue the negotiation.

Box 36. The Green Future Society and the Martinez Sawmill: Part I

Suppose that the Green Future Society strongly opposes all logging in South Region on claims that logging causes environmental damage. Green Future insists that your strategic plan must include the goal of stopping all logging in South Region within the next two years. The two logging operations in South Region are the Martinez Sawmill and the Bella Vista Plywood Company. They provide 200 paid jobs and a contribution to South Region's income. Neither company is interested in stopping its operations. All three groups - Green Future, Martinez, and Bella Vista - are important interest groups. What are your approaches to negotiate this conflict?

Negotiation will not be possible if any of the parties aims to destroy another as its primary purpose (i.e., "winning at any cost"). Green Future may use militant demands that anger the companies and your forestry agency. Nevertheless, the situation is open to negotiation if Green Future wants to maintain continuing relationships with your agency, or if it needs something from the forest products industries. In this case, you must convince Green Future that it has no good alternative other than to negotiate an agreement that will satisfy Martinez, Bella Vista, and your agency.

You cannot negotiate with people who do not allow their views to be questioned. For example, Juan Pedro Martinez may insist that each company has the "right" to harvest timber in the way it knows best. For Martinez, this is an article of faith that is not open to debate. His dogma dominates his reason. You have to redirect Martinez away from issues that for him are not negotiable towards others that offer hope for common ground. If you can get him to say "yes" to other points (such as on the need for background studies), then perhaps later he will be more willing to consider the central issue.

Negotiation is impossible if one group feels powerless in relation to others. Suppose, for example, that Green Future believes that forest industries always "win" with your forestry agency, and that environmental NGOs always "lose." If this is its perception (whether accurate or not). Green Future has no reason to negotiate through your agency. Instead, it will choose a more radical means to try to get what it wants. To prevent this from happening, you have no choice other than to cede important procedural points to Green Future, and to tolerate its hostilities and resentment. But even as you take exceptional measures to build a working relationship and show fairness, you have to decide how far you will go before your relationship with Green Future becomes too expensive. What is your best alternative to not negotiating with them? What will you gain and lose by walking away?

You must know your ideal goal, and introduce it early in the negotiation. You also must have a clear idea of your "walk away" position, but you reserve it for later. You may have to adjust it frequently, since options tend to appear and disappear with the dynamics of bargaining. Thus a good negotiator knows beforehand which tradeoffs he or she is prepared to make. At the same time, a good negotiator decides in advance which principles and points not to concede under any circumstances. Worksheet 37 helps you think about the goals, compromises, and alternatives that define the negotiation framework (also see Box 37).

Box 37. The Green Future Society and the Martinez Sawmill: Part II

In our example, suppose that the Green Future Society continues to insist that logging be stopped within the next two years, and that this position has wide popular and political support. But what will Green Future gain and lose if its demand is modified to five years, during which time all logging in South Region will be required to adopt low-impact harvesting methods? If this compromise fails, is your agency willing to tolerate the continued opposition of Green Future in the coming years? As a different option, would Martinez and Bella Vista accept environmental impact assessment for logging, and will this be their best alternative compared with the alternative of closing down? These illustrate the types of questions that should define the negotiation.

6.3 Choose Your Negotiating Strategy

Negotiation often occurs without a well-prepared strategy. Instead, most people interact with each other according to personal styles developed in their families, religions, and communities. Thus rather than pursuing a particular type of strategy, many individuals negotiate on the basis of habit, intuition, and stereotypes about other persons.

In comparison, truly effective negotiators apply a variety of negotiating strategies in different situations. With practice, each of these strategies can be learned. Your planning team must be able to call upon a variety of negotiating strategies that vary with the different types of conflicts it faces. Three basic strategies are:

1. Cooperative strategy. - This is also called the "soft bargaining" approach. It minimizes the degree of conflict by generating trust and kindness. You are looking for common ground and joint interests, and you want everyone to benefit. You compromise, and you expect other people to do the same. The approach is at its best when other individuals similarly cooperate. But it does not work when others regard your "soft" approach as a weakness that they can exploit.

2. Competitive strategy. - This is "hard bargaining" in which you give nothing and demand everything. You apply pressure to get your way. This approach is important when you absolutely must win, even if other persons will lose. The approach works well when you face weak or confused negotiators. It is less appropriate when a long-term relationship has to be maintained, or when your opponents are well prepared.

3. Analytical strategy. - In this approach, negotiation is a problem-solving exercise to create options that benefit everyone. This is sometimes called "interest-based bargaining," or "principled negotiation." You try to: (1) separate the people from the problem; (2) focus on interests, not positions; (3) generate options for mutual gain; and (4) use objective criteria to make decisions.

The negotiator who favors "principled negotiation" does not rely on a forceful personality, or on a position of power in the relationship. Rather, he or she recognizes that everyone has legitimate interests to be satisfied. These interests are met through a search for mutual agreement rather than by application of one-sided force.

Yet this analytical approach also has its limitations. The two or more sides to an argument are not always logical. It can be impossible to avoid taking positions when individuals on the other side of a dispute are being irrational. This is especially true when the conflict is largely about differences in beliefs and values.

A competent negotiator knows what kind of image he or she projects. Good negotiators also recognize and respond to the negotiating styles on the opposite side of an argument. For example, is your conflict with someone who generally needs social approval, and who therefore will favor cooperative negotiation? Or is your conflict with an aggressive personality who enjoys defeating an opponent? Other styles include negotiators who are intuitive, naive, deceptive, hostile, sarcastic, and so on. In each situation, you try to understand your negotiating personality in relation to others. This increases the prospects for your negotiation to succeed (Box 38).

Box 38. The Green Future Society and the Martinez Sawmill: Part III

In our illustration, Juan Pedro Martinez is a dominant individual of age 60, who enjoys a good fight, and who made his fortune in the logging business by taking a few risks. Your planning team cannot talk to Martinez through a "soft bargaining" person.

In contrast, the 28-year old president of the Green Future Society, Silvia Salinas, is an aspiring politician from a socially prominent family. For Salinas, personal relationships are exceptionally important. She is a known pragmatist, and she likes working with people. Your planning team can negotiate with her in ways that are not possible with Martinez.

Box 39 presents the advantages and disadvantages of the different negotiation styles. You should review them each time your planning team prepares to interact with people who strongly disagree with you, or with each other.

6.4 Create a Positive Climate for Negotiation

Especially in the presence of conflicts, your planning team needs a comfortable setting where people can talk openly and productively. The climate for negotiation is determined by both physical and emotional factors. By paying attention to these factors, you should be able to influence the quality of the discussion.

Box 39. Strengths and Weaknesses of Different Negotiating Styles




1. Cooperative

· You want an agreement that is fair for everybody.

· You trust the other side.

· You compromise when necessary, and you expect the compromise to be reciprocated.

· People respond positively to others who are friendly and agreeable.

· Soft bargaining elevates a relationship (it shows that both sides care about each other).

· The strategy works well for people who know each other, and who share a common picture of issues and choices.

· Kindness can be perceived as a weakness (i.e., you are "soft" and easy to control).

· If you represent a group, your cooperation with a conflicting interest lessens your credibility with your constituents.

· In their desire to maintain a relationship, negotiators who use the cooperative approach may give up more than they should.

2. Competitive

· Your aim is to win, even if it means a fight.

· You do not trust the other side, and you believe they will take advantage of you at every opportunity.

· You insist on your position, and you apply as much pressure as necessary to force it through.

· "Hard bargaining" may be essential when there is too much at stake to lose.

· People often accept the proposals of a competitive negotiator when they have no good alternatives of their own.

· There may not be time or resources to mount a defense against a strong competitor.

· The competitive approach does not work if there is a long-term relationship to protect.

· Hard bargainers have to maintain force, and this consumes their time and energy.

· People avoid hard bargainers in order to interact with someone else.

· If "soft spots" are exposed in hard bargainers, they lose effectiveness.

3. Analytical

· You emphasize objectivity and the use of information.

· You try to persuade the other side by presenting facts, standards, civility, and mutual benefit.

· This offers advantages for a weak group that confronts a strong opposition (by stressing principles, not power).

· The approach is one of the best means to create "win-win" solutions in a wide variety of conflicts.

· By refusing to take a position, you may unnecessarily prolong the time to settle a conflict.

· Analytical methods do not work when the problem is the persons, not the issues.

· "Objective standards" usually favor the status quo (i.e., what is, not what should be).

Source: Adapted from R.A Johnson, 1993, Negotiation Basics, Sage Publications, London, pp. 68-93.

Your choice of meeting sites is very important. You invite planning participants as honored guests, and you help them feel comfortable in terms of how you dress, the food and drinks you serve, and your choice of meeting room.

If you are making a special effort to have peasants and indigenous people participate in the planning, you may decide not to meet in a government building. Rather, you should choose a more neutral place where your guests will feel less intimidated. They may be particularly pleased if your planning team meets them in their own communities. This sends the message, "We care enough to spend the time and money to travel here and talk with you." On the other hand, you need a completely different kind of setting in negotiations with forceful personalities (Box 40).

Box 40. The Green Future Society and the Martinez Sawmill: Part IV

Juan Pedro Martinez is difficult to deal with. Perhaps you meet Martinez only in your director's office, and only at a time of your convenience. You ask your top legal consultants to attend the meeting, and all of you practice your questions and answers before you actually talk with Martinez. Moreover, you try to surprise Martinez with new facts, or a new line of argument. Your aim is to convince Martinez that he has no choice other than principled negotiation, i.e., to help you develop options so that everyone benefits.

In negotiation, the physical climate contributes to the emotional climate. But the emotional climate also depends on the manner in which you conduct your discussions. Generally, the leader of your planning team sets the tone for communications. A good discussion leader wants the other side to speak freely and comfortably. People are quiet and defensive at meetings if their leaders:

· Are preoccupied with maintaining their own control;
· Draw attention to their own self-importance;
· Use manipulation to get their way; and
· Judge each person's ideas against their own opinions about "right" and "wrong" thinking.

Conversely, negotiation goes better when participants feel a spontaneous and open environment for discussion. Hence a good negotiation leader has more questions than conclusions, and shows more empathy than superiority. Refer to Worksheet 38 to help you determine whether you provide a comfortable negotiating climate.

6.5 Improve Your Negotiating Strength

You cannot hope to negotiate a conflict in strategic planning - such as over competing forest uses - without a source of negotiating strength (or "power"). The environmental NGOs, forest industries, and other interest groups give you conflicting answers to: "Trees and forests for whom and for what?" In your strategic planning, your agency is expected to resolve these differences, often through negotiation. But what is your negotiating strength, and how and where does it originate? Can you estimate how much negotiating strength you actually have? Specifically:

· Do you have sufficient strength to convince the different interest groups to negotiate (with you, and with each other)?

· Do you have sufficient strength to produce an acceptable agreement?

Your negotiating strength relative to the other side has three sources: (1) you apply pressure due to your authority, status, and control.; (2) you have something the other side wants, and they are willing to trade for it; and (3) you are credible because your arguments are legitimate and reasonable.

The first source of your negotiating strength is force, i.e., you are bigger and stronger than the other side. Your forestry agency derives its authority from laws and regulations. But in reality, your agency may be small, underfunded, and in other ways poorly positioned to negotiate on the basis of its authority. For example, your use of the law is ineffective without adequate enforcement capacity. Your strength is measured by a large number of sanctions and court judgments favorable to your agency. To date, many countries are unable to obtain this result. Moreover, your application of top-down authority as a source of strength can be inconsistent with the spirit of empowerment, i.e., working through bottom-up incentives.

Hence your second source of negotiating strength is to trade something of value with the other side. What does the other side want that you can afford to give? You must accurately identify the needs of these individuals, and then convince them that a negotiated solution can meet their needs. Your approach is: "Our proposal is in your best interests" (Box 41).

Box 41. The Green Future Society and the Martinez Sawmill: Part V

For example, can your agency offer Martinez a good timber concession elsewhere so that he no longer needs logs from South Region? Can you persuade the Green Future Society to drop its demand for a logging ban by asking Green Future to help you write guidelines for sustainable forest harvesting and management?

Finally, negotiating strength depends on credibility. You are credible if the other side sees you as trustworthy, competent, and dynamic:

1. Trustworthy - Credibility is achieved by making and keeping commitments. A trustworthy agency is known for its integrity. It always fulfills its promises, and it always carries out its threats.

2. Competent. - A good negotiator prepares extremely well, and argues from a base of reliable facts and analysis. He or she speaks effectively, portrays confidence, and presents an attractive image. The agency (or person) with a history of negotiation failures - or no history at all - is not credible.

3. Dynamic.-The people who are credible deeply care about their issues. They fight hard for their position because they sincerely believe in it. Their passion signals the other side that they face an opponent who does not easily compromise.

Your agency may not be able to call upon all of these strengths. For example, responsible forestry officials often seek a "middle way" on the issues. But the middle way seldom lends itself to passionate expression. Moreover, your agency's past experience in conflict management may be less than ideal. Thirdly, your agency may have a questionable record in delivering on its promises. Each of these can be a problem that lessens your negotiating strength. In many cases, you may need to turn to one or more outside negotiators (see the following section 6.6).

6.6 Turn to Outside Negotiators

In your strategic planning, you may need outside assistance to resolve conflicts that you cannot successfully negotiate alone. Similarly, members of your planning team may sharply disagree with each other on points of procedure or substance, and you may decide to invite an outside person to break the impasse. The use of such third-party interventions is important in the following situations:

· When the two or more persons in an argument recognize their own inability to reach an agreement;

· When one of the disputing persons judges another to be "irrational"; and

· When neutral assistance is needed to add information, conduct technical evaluations, and carry out other problem-solving tasks.

Third-party intervention is especially valuable in conflicts where consequences are serious, positions are rigid, and arguments are personal. It is also valuable where one side has much more power than another, but you need a solution that will be fair to the weaker side. Outside persons may succeed because they have no immediate interest in the outcome. This can be a huge advantage where feelings are intense, and where the conflicting sides are struggling to win at all costs. Depending on the circumstances, you call upon third parties for several different roles (Box 42).

Box 42. Outside Negotiators Can Help You in the Following Ways........

1. FACT FINDING. This is when you ask someone outside the conflict to review the facts and evidence of the situation, and to report his or her observations to the group.

2. CONCILIATION. The third party talks separately with the disputing sides in order to reduce tensions, and to develop a resolution process that will be agreeable to everyone.

3. MEDIATION. The third party participates in the negotiation process, and attempts to help the disputing sides reach an agreement. But he or she has no authority over the decisions that are reached.

4. ARBITRATION. The disputing sides select a third party who reviews the facts and makes a decision. In advance of this decision, the disputing sides agree to abide by it.

In some cases, you are looking for experts to resolve arguments over scientific or technical issues in forest use and conservation. Perhaps just as frequently, you are looking for a neutral person who can provide good judgment when a conflict is more about fairness than about forestry. Wisdom comes in both sexes, and in many colors and ages. In all circumstances, you need someone who is widely trusted. This is almost always an individual well-known to the conflicting sides, since there is too much at risk to be entrusted to strangers. Worksheet 39 helps you define the characteristics you seek in third-party negotiators.

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