Discovering Agreement Is Not A Conversation About The Relationship. The Conversation Is The Relationship.

Traditionally, we start our conversations about our business deals with negotiations of “deal points.”  This leads us to assume that the deal points define our relationship.  Discovering Agreement challenges that assumption. What truly does define a relationship?  Relationship is defined by how we treat each other, by what we share (vision, mission, values, efforts, benefits), by our reasons for joining forces, and by the nature of the ongoing conversation that we have as we journey forward together.

Another common feature of traditional contract talks is that we come together and imagine ourselves as future enemies fighting projected, potential battles and deciding how the burdens of loss or misfortune will be divided amongst us in that imagined potentiality. We battle to get our ‘fair share’; and we negotiate terms to which everyone will concede.

Starting From A New Perspective

When we make a start with Discovering Agreement, our attention is directed first at the basis and nature of the relationship we are entering.  This moment of exploration, clarification, calibration, and mutual creativity is the beginning of the ongoing conversation that we are entering together in order to bring something of value and meaning to the world and to our own lives.  The first step is to come to the conversation with an alert awareness that we are not enemies and that we wish to design a relationship that will never devolve into enemy camps.  We acknowledge that when we work together towards a goal or in an endeavor, we depend on one another, on our shared goodwill and on our shared well-being.

Don’t Let Deal Points Define Your Relationship

The deal points are our Action Plan – important to clarify and carefully consider – but not the defining features of our relationship.  In fact, it is highly likely that we will have discovered in our conversation that the deal points are not the ultimate reason we are taking up the shared work; the deal points are created to serve the ultimate reason for our work.

Discovering Agreement does not suggest that we leave behind our “hard earned calluses of caution and prevention” when we sit down to plan a shared effort.[1] It suggests, instead, that we approach the planning as a side-by-side undertaking where we are joining forces to see if our shared energies and abilities can be harnessed to generate greater well-being for everyone involved – greater than if we did not join forces. . . . read more