The right outcome for a negotiation isn’t always (A+B)/2, where one side’s starting point is A and the other side is B. Its more complex than that, and it’s not only about the numbers. Some of the most well-meant and strategically obvious mergers and acquisitions fail shortly after the deal is done, because the right initial deal wasn’t done. If the objective merger ratio of the two companies’ shares should have been 70:30, and the deal was done instead at 30:70, it won’t work. Although it seems that we have an outright winner-loser, the real issue is that you have created a toxic mixture, which gets found out in short order. Sure, someone got outsmarted, misled, beguiled — whatever — in the negotiation process, but finding the middle ground where value is created is not about winning or losing, it’s about common ground.The little bit I’ve learned about negotiation hasn’t come from textbooks or guidance as much as it has come from mistakes — as a winner and as a loser. Draw a Venn d...

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