Large complex negotiations require special tools to keep them ontrack and productive. Inexperienced negotiators generally measure success by the number of concessions they were able to “win” from their counterparty. This inefficient approach forces people to stick to their position and rarely yields an optimal outcome.
The One-Text Procedure
Enter the wonderful world of the one-text procedure. The key driver of this processes is the use of an unbiased third party to help catalogue real interests of all parties and then facilitate the combined criticism of possible solutions until the best solution is found.
The summary of the processes is:
- Collect the true desires and interests of the participants
- Draft an interim proposal and present it to all participants for criticism
- Participants continually criticize the interim proposals until they can criticize it no more and the facilitator has prepare the best possible solution. It is only at this point that participants can accept or reject the final proposal.
Since everyone is working from the facilitator’s draft (participants cannot add, edit or modify themselves), it prevents participants from taking positions and becoming inflexible. By criticizing the drafts of the facilitator, it allows them to criticize the proposal without fear of alienating the other party.
The draft criticism and revision process continues until the facilitator feels the proposal cannot be improved further. It is only at this point that the participants can make a Yes or No decision. This is the process used by the US government when they negotiated the Camp David Middle East piece agreement between Israel (Prime Minister Begin) and Egypt (President Sadat).