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No-Deal BREXIT is (was) a credible BATNA
Originally published via the Kahvay blog 5th September 2019
It doesn’t matter what you want, BREXIT in or out, The UK’s negotiation position is being weakened, again and again and again. In fact, every time a UK politician opens their mouth The UK is weakened.
Whether you are BREXIT in or out, it doesn’t matter. That ship has sailed. We are on it and far from shore. Swimming back will leave many casualties so we’ve got to paddle together. But no, our politicians are hell-bent on punching holes in the bottom of the ship, it’s negotiation “MAD-ness” as in the nuclear MAD (mutually assured destruction). The UK politician has entered their codes, turned the key and pressed fire! Missiles away!
In negotiation, you need deadlines and you need pressures.
Having alternatives known as BATNAs (best alternative to a negotiated agreement) are wonderful pressures to use as they help shift power which in turn helps to focus minds and creates the right conditions to bring discussions to a close, whichever way it closes.
Your BATNA has got to be credible, you’ve got to be believed. Believed that you would choose your BATNA over the deal you are negotiating. I go to a market in Thailand, I want to buy a bracelet, I know there are lots of other bracelet stalls but I want this one… I’m still going to strengthen my negotiation position by indicating I’m happy to buy somewhere else! Suggest in anyway to the seller that you’re not willing to walk away gives them power! Take away your alternative leaves you weakened.
Whether you like it or not, agree or not, a No-Deal BREXIT is a credible BATNA. The key with any BATNA is that you would prefer to do the deal rather than your BATNA or otherwise why are you negotiating, but it’s there to show you have power, however small or large, you can chose to go another way. Take No-Deal off the table and you have no BATNA, a weakened position. This will lead to continued uncertainty and negative implications all round, for everyone. Not to mention the indignity of feeling powerless, and that never ends well.
This all means it’s going to take longer to happen, longer to bring to a close and implement. We need to enter that implementation phase because it’s here we can then get on with the multiple new negotiations that always come after the handshake. In this phase we will rebuild relationships and geopolitical partnerships. Here positive profitable change is negotiated, away from the conflict of BREXIT.
We have a chance. It’s a slight chance. But it’s a chance. We need to start paddling together. A No-Deal scenario just focuses minds. Use that pressure and the deadline to do a deal. Then let’s start the process of mending relationships and mutually growing the value of that deal in the years to come.
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