This past Fourth of July was unique in many regards — from most of us being forced back into seclusion amid the rise in COVID-19 cases to our debates across this country over complex social and political issues. Needless to say, it wasn’t the same assortment of backyard BBQs, family gatherings, and fireworks displays that so many of us have grown accustomed to. However, as I enjoyed my secluded and subdued Fourth, I took a slight detour and asked myself, If we could declare independence from bad negotiations, what would our Negotiator’s Bill of Rights look like? Enjoy the diversion . . .
The first 10 Amendments of the United States Constitution make up the Bill of Rights. Written by James Madison, the Amendments helped to address many states’ issues with the unamended Constitution, which led to its eventual ratification.
I am no James Maidson, however. So, I borrowed his words and modified them to suit the needs of this distraction. I now humbly put forth to you, for your consideration, the Negotiator’s Bill of Rights:
Amendment I - Right to respectful negotiations
Negotiators shall make no rules disrespecting the views and opinions of the other party, or prohibiting the free expression thereof; or the right of the other party to peaceably negotiate, and to petition the other party for a redress of grievances.
Amendment II - Right to create valuable deals
The right of the negotiator to utilize their power and leverage in a manner that creates valuable deals that all parties can adhere to.
Amendment III - Right to the deal not changing after it’s been agreed to
No negotiator shall, during the execution of a negotiated agreement, without the consent of the other party, change the terms of the negotiated agreement.
Amendment IV - Right to an honest negotiation
The right of the negotiator to be secure that the information being presented is truthful and factual; that each negotiator shall maintain a level of honest decorum as to not unfairly or deviously alter the natural power balance of a negotiation.
Amendment V - Right to fix or clarify misunderstandings
No negotiator shall have a negotiated agreement terminated or canceled, unless presented with the ability to fix or clarify any misgivings or unintended transgressions in order to preserve the sanctity of the negotiated agreement.
Amendment VI - Right to a speedy negotiation
In all negotiations, negotiators shall enjoy the right to a speedy negotiation with a qualified person from the other party who holds the ability to negotiate an outcome and has reasonable decision-making authority; and in cases where deal approval is not sole authority of the negotiator, it shall be made known upfront and foremost to all parties.
Amendment VII - Right to bring others to the negotiating table as necessary
All negotiators reserve the right to bring others to the table to help support and expedite the negotiation process; no party shall intentionally bring disruptive voices or persons to the table with the sole intent of aggravation, intimidation, or delay.
Amendment VIII - Right to not be ridiculed when a mistake is made
Excessive penalties shall not be imposed when either party makes a mistake at the negotiating table, nor ongoing ridicule or excessive sarcasm be inflicted on the other party.
Amendment IX - Right to focus solely on the issues at hand
Negotiators shall confine the issues of the negotiation to the agreement upon scope of the negotiation, thereby limiting excess baggage, hidden agendas, and other unstated issues from the negotiation.
Amendment X - Right to negotiate with those who can actually get a deal done
The negotiators have the power to agree to a deal or walk away from a deal at any point in the negotiation, and shall have the right to negotiate with those who can do the same.
Protect Your Negotiator’s Rights
Now that you know your Negotiator’s Rights, it’s time that you stood up for them. We can help! Drawing on 45 years of real-world negotiating experience, we’ll assist you with getting better deals, saving time, and creating value for all involved — not to mention preserving and even strengthening relationships. Let us partner you with one of our advisers, ensuring that you’ve got the broadest view of your deal.