Even when you manage to resolve personal offenses through confession and forgiveness, you may still need to deal with substantive issues, which may involve money, property or the exercise of certain rights. These issues should not be swept under the carpet or automatically passed to a higher authority. Instead, they should be wisely negotiated.
As a general rule, you should try to negotiate substantive issues in a cooperative manner rather than a competitive manner. In other words, instead of aggressively pursuing your own interests and letting others look out for themselves, you should deliberately look for solutions that are beneficial to everyone involved. This is commonly known as “collaborative” or “relational” negotiation as compared to “competitive” negotiation.
A collaborative or relational approach to negotiation may be summarized in five basic steps, which we refer to as the PAUSE Principle:
- Prepare (pray, get the facts, seek godly counsel, develop options)
- Affirm relationships (show genuine concern and respect for others)
- Understand interests (identify others’ concerns, desires, needs, limitations, or fears)
- Search for creative solutions (prayerful brainstorming)
- Evaluate options objectively and reasonably (evaluate, don’t argue)
If you have never used this approach to negotiation before, it will take time and practice (and sometimes advice from others) to become proficient at it. But it is well worth the effort, because learning the PAUSE principle will help you not only to resolve your present dispute but also to negotiate more effectively in all areas of your life.
Adapted from The Peacemaker, © 2004 by Ken Sande. All Rights Reserved.
See Getting to Yes by Fisher and Ury for additional insights on collaborative negotiation.