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Brexit – the cost of non-agreement

Apr 04, 2019

Brexit – the cost of non-agreement

Those of us watching Brexit negotiations cannot help but wonder how it is possible that things have ended up where they are now. Is it not the job of our politicians to find a solution? No deal was rejected by British parliamentarians, but so were eight other proposals last week.

This begs an important question: who is benefiting from non-agreement?

I am sure you have encountered negotiating partners that do not seem to be interested in finding an agreement. You may have presented your arguments, suggested possible solutions and made one last peace offer – however, despite your best offers, your negotiating partner fails to come around. You might think that the other side must be mad to reject your fair offer. However, the other side will be considering two options: agreement and non-agreement. As long as they consider non-agreement to be more beneficial than agreement, they will not consider your offers. So what is the solution? You need to increase the price of non-agreement.

Negotiation tip:

  • Your negotiating partner has a certain point of view that you are unlikely to change.
  • They will constantly be weighing up the cost of agreement and non-agreement.
  • As long as non-agreement is cheaper for them, you will not get a solution.
  • The way to make non-agreement more expensive is to introduce new negative consequences.
With Brexit, many politicians think that “no deal” is not actually that expensive. It is too late to try and convince them otherwise. However, clearly showing additional negative consequences of non-agreement is still possible.