A key skill taught to mediators and negotiators is how to ‘reframe’ issues. This means moving the conversation to a higher level of generalisation. A form of bold simplification that (as the jargon has it) takes all concerned from their obvious Positions to less obvious Interests and Needs. And thereby creates space for strategic compromises.
Thus a haggle over compensation payments: “I think I’m hearing from you that you can be flexible on phasing these payments, but you really need certainty on the total?” The reframing question opens the idea of trading Money against Time.
Framing is all around us these days in politics. Organisation activist Saul Alinsky featured it prominently in his Rules for Radicals: “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” Continue reading