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Refining known principals and redirecting them toward broader purpose

Certainly, an evolved approach is far more entailed in its scope than standard methodologies. It is:

  • Broadly influential in its reach;
  • More inclusive in its consideration of contributing factors;
  • Longer-range in its sometimes shifting objectives;
  • Stabilizing in its constructive approach to reform; and,
  • Transformational in sculpting lasting functional solution from multi-dimensional conflict.

Very often it advances meaningful social, institutional and political reform within a framework of achievable goals met through strategic positioning and skilled negotiation.

It can revitalize degrading systems with a sense of collective benefit, and fortify them with immediately applicable innovation.

Obviously this type of approach requires a slate of effective methodologies and techniques uniquely suited to the task, particularly for those endeavoring to better equalize unbalanced conditions, find resource, and add value to their bargaining position.

Fortunately, common principals of negotiation expand their form when called to such duty. There are, however, special challenges calling for new or creative applications, like those briefly discussed below:

1. Strategy, tactics, intelligence and leverage

In an evolved negotiation, effective strategy must embrace a far more comprehensive scope of fluid, influential factors.

In order to craft better strategy, information gathering and organization takes on greater importance.

This is well worth the required investment. An expanded intelligence network can reveal subtle shifts in the landscape of conflict, enabling more strategic tactical applications.

Thorough recognition of influential factors will enable the negotiator to identify and capitalize on an adversary's long-range objective, manipulate circumstances facilitating attainment and thereby enable a far greater range of suitable leverage.

Such an approach naturally lends a much greater sense of outcome predictability.

2. Coalition building

An evolved approach to negotiation often benefits from the development of a supporting coalition of allies and influencers.

Maintaining the adhesion of a broad coalition over time is particularly challenging, and should be managed through:

  • Sound leadership;
  • Acute recognition of coalition contribution;
  • Appropriate cooperative engagement; and,
  • The continually refined identification and alignment of shared objectives.

This, of course, requires even greater insight into the mechanics of a coalition and factors of stability and instability.

3. Public awareness and media

There can be no more influential coalition than an educated, engaged public in support of your priority objective.

Therefore, an evolved negotiation requires skilled development of an educational, publicity and promotional campaign. This is most readily and effectively achieved when launched as a correlated and persistent effort.

Such a campaign can greatly broaden your influence within targeted channels capable of effectively multiplying your message, thereby enhancing investment in outreach and continually compounding your return.

4. Law, policy and bureaucracy

Many forms of negotiation take shape within confines of applicable law and policy. Appropriately harnessing influential legal principals ahead of an evolved approach and intended to support and steer it, can:

  • Fortify your argument and strengthen you position;
  • Guide an adversary toward greater compliance; and,
  • Prepare your defense ahead of more formal means of resolution, thereby minimizing reliance upon such methods and expediting informal resolution.

Should principals of law and policy fail your objective, an evolved approach can substantiate and add momentum toward necessary reform.


In our modern, highly systematized society, we frequently find ourselves opposing someone, some thing, or some system far more fortified and influential than ourselves.

Perhaps, as a single parent, we find ourselves working toward better employment policy without benefit of a union.

As a small business owner, we may be competitively disadvantaged and endeavoring to expand within an unfairly manipulated market.

Perhaps we find ourselves part of a community struggling to preserve environmental integrity for benefit of public health.

Each of these situations and untold others affecting individuals as focal points of broader system failure can benefit from an evolved approach, either as a strategic addendum to a conventional approach, or comprising the core of a negotiation campaign.

Because it capitalizes on short- as well as long-term conditions simultaneously, an evolved approach can achieve a suite of benefits enhancing early as well as sustained efforts.

It can:

  • Bring disparate perspectives into practical and even tested focus;
  • Draw controversial findings into a far more defining context;
  • Shape conflict by neutralizing or harnessing an infinite range of conditions;
  • Accommodate flexibility in conditional shifts and re-prioritized objectives while preserving leverage or illuminating new opportunities;
  • Introduce stability as well as predictability through a broadly receptive, relatively measured, inherently flexible, planned process; and,
  • Negotiate justice by fairly and effectively shaping dispute into a final, productive and more sustainable form.

Unfortunately, many negotiation situations can be misidentified as overly-simplistic or short-lived due to grievous miscalculations of influential factors comprising controversy.

While impositions of time can indeed be helpful in constraining demands and narrowing the scope of achievable solution, when too-narrowly conceived, negotiations can haphazardly extend without benefit of broad situational awareness or resultant strategic planning. This frequently results in a more reactive and poorly articulated series of crises-driven responses to degrading conditions.

The landscape of conflict has broadened, and with it, the nature of negotiations and need for an equally broadened, evolved approach.

The inability to discern a negotiation demanding of an evolved approach can easily leave a negotiator acting as an unwitting surrogate, incorporated within the evolved approach of an adversary. Will you recognize the totality of conflict and its need for an evolved solution? Will you recognize your actual role in resolution?

To those unfamiliar and perhaps intimidated by an evolved approach, it may appear unduly restrictive because it targets reform from a fair-minded drive toward solution in order to solicit broad and enduring support.

It may appear cumbersome because it requires a comprehensive, highly coordinated approach to resolution, requiring particular insight and skillful management.

But, an evolved approach need not be awkward or insurmountable in its transformative challenge.

Indeed, for those without access to political or adequate legal representation, such an approach is utterly necessary as a tool of equity.

When introduced to conflict as an appropriate vehicle in service to solution, and when masterfully applied with integrity and persistence, such an orchestration broadens collective awareness of system failures and re-frames them as spring boards of innovative solution.

Possibilities then proliferate which are capable of generating empathetic and collaborative efforts toward shared concerns, developing rich and lasting opportunity for mutual benefit.

Lisa Bracken is a communications consultant, pioneer of evolved negotiations, and author of the ground-breaking negotiation manual on implementing an evolved approach toward achieving effective social and institutional reform, entitled: "You and What Army? How to Neutralize Conflict and Negotiate Justice for the Totally Outgunned, Inwardly Timid, Burnt Out or Socially Defunct" Published by: New Flight Books, August 2011. Find free excerpts at:

The information in this article is NOT legal advice. Lisa Bracken is a paralegal, and therefore a non-attorney

Evolved Negotiations: A New, Blended and Broadened Approach to Influencing Conditions, Adversaries and Outcomes, By Lisa Bracken


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Copyright © 2011 Lisa Bracken
Copyright ©   2011  The Negotiator Magazine
The Negotiator Magazine  (October, 2011)