2 lessons from the debt-ceiling negotiations

Notes on Negotiation
Submitted by Marty Latz, Latz Negotiation Institute

The U.S. federal government’s debt-ceiling negotiation has been at the forefront of the news for quite some time and generated a tremendous amount of interest and emotion across the entire political spectrum.

From a negotiation perspective, what lessons did you learn from it?

Here are two:

• Negotiators faced with a firm deadline typically feel an increasing sense of urgency (and anxiety) to close the deal as they approach the deadline.  Here, the process concluded on the day the U.S. Treasury said it would face default.  Clearly, this deadline had a huge impact.

• The parties had an offer-concession pattern of negotiating all the way up to deadlines (remember the tax cut negotiations last December), and they did it again. It was predictable this time  and will be again in the future.


Marty Latz is the founder of Latz Negotiation Institute, a national negotiation training and consulting company, and ExpertNegotiator, a Web-based software company that helps managers and negotiators more effectively negotiate and implement best practices based on the experts’ proven research.  He is also the author of Gain the Edge! Negotiating to Get What You Want (St. Martin’s Press 2004). He can be reached at 480-951-3222 or Latz@ExpertNegotiator.com

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