Monday, September 26, 2005

Negotiating, Winning and Losing

Most people involved in negotiation and mediation know that in these processes if you have a winner and a loser, then you really have two losing parties. The "losing" party will never accept the "loss" and as a result the "winning" party will never really win.

Experienced negotiators know that each side needs to come away with something. Seldom is there an issue that cannot be resolved with both sides ending in a "winning" position by virtue of gaining acceptance of their highest priority position by the opposing side. When this happens, both parties find ways to support the solution and the end result is often better than if one side won and the other side lost.

When a "win-win" can be found, the issue not only goes away but the solution is quickly implemented and everyone recognizes the solution as an example of the excellent result available when everyone works together.

When we look at the Burns Square decision, we find a "win-lose" solution. The Burns Square property owners worked hard to implement their desired re-zone classification - DTE. They were able to convince three commissioners that they deserved to win. They won.

On the other side, all the citizens, planning staff and civic leaders that worked hard to find a downtown vision that everyone could buy into, then worked hard to find a re-zoning plan that would make the vision a reality, now find they are "losers." All their hard work, time and effort has been negated by the Burns Square vote of three commissioners. The citizens lost.

These citizens have not bought into the "solution" and it is unlikely they ever will. Instead, human nature prevails and they will either withdraw from further participation or they will find other ways to oppose the decision and the decision makers.

This is especially true since there were a number of ways to find a "win-win" solution for this particular issue. Instead, we have a decision that clearly picked one side and ignored the arguments of the other side. This is a classic "win-lose" solution.

This is not good for our community and it will cause further problems. A significant segment of the community will not buy into the re-zoning decision that has been made. Sarasota citizens deserve better decision making. Our community depends on leaders that can find "win-win" solutions.


Anonymous said...


Burns Square Property Owners Assoc. said...

I do not share your philosophy on winning and loosing.

"You can stand tall without standing on someone. You can be a victor without having victims" HARRIET WOODS

Burns Square was down zoned from 18 to 10 stories, which is a loss of 8 stories. SOS states that the loss should have been the intended DTE 13 stories but Burns Square still lost more than 1/2 of the intended 13 stories and I think that is a compromise to the benefit of the DTE supporters. It continues to be missed that our area was the only area proposed to go from CCBD to DTE.

I again ask, why am I the only person willing to sign my name, is no one else willing to sign theirs so that we can have personal conversations outside this site as well?

Anonymous said...

The property owners in Burns Court had 8 stories of buildable floor space taken away but you want an additional 5 taken away from their rights. And you say there was no negotiation? What are you talking about? Are you saying because the public "feels" they should be 5 stories not 18 that is fair? Do the math!

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the reason people do not want to use their names is that they would prefer to remove personalities and politics from the discussion. As long as no one is disrespectful or makes personal attacks what's the difference? It is obvious that you are not going to change people's minds so they are entitled to make their points just like you are, without feeling intimidated.

Burns Square Property Owners Assoc. said...

I have changed my mind many times on things when I was given new information. I do not think this conversation is about changing peoples minds, playing politics, personalities or intimidation. I feel these are important and worthwhile conversations between citizens that care about our city and a little human element in the mix I think would be nice but your are right, not necessary.

Anonymous said...

Burns square property owners association inc.

Now there is a screen name free of politics and intimidation (he he).

Denise Kowal said...

It is an association that is made up of citizens interesting in improving their neighborhood, just like Laurel Park or any other neighborhood. Honestly, how distasteful can you try to make things? It is not politics and it is not intimidation, it is just people just like you. Cannot anyone put themselves out there for things they care about to make improvements and work together without being intimidated with ridicule as if they are doing something bad. I do not find your comment funny and it is disturbing that this is the way you choose to treat us when we have asked for SOS help in creating our vision. I even set up a blog as a tool to gether input and suggestions from the public to help us, please help in a constructive way. Our blog is

Denise Kowal, President, Burns Square Property Owners Association, Inc.

Susan Chapman said...

Ms. Kowal: It is no wonder that people want to remain anonymous. The last time I signed a comment, you sent me a snippy email communication. Apparently, you feel free to communicate freely on all available public fora, but you go on the attack when others don't agree with you in the those same public sites. I (and several of my neighbors) participated in your organization's charrette in good faith. However, it was my impression that your planner was trying to propose that those who opposed the change from downtown edge zoning could be satisfied with design fixes. In fact, design will not satisfy the citizens who did not have notice and an opportunity to be heard on the issue. I understood the charrette process as one that allows for public input when the conclusions are proposed. Those who spent their Friday evening discussing the issues with your planner were told that the report would be shared with your members only and not with us (the impacted citizens). Presumably, the report will be shared in backroom discussions at city hall. I am not ridiculing you. However, I don't see your association's vision as beneficial to the downtown master plan, the neighborhoods, or impacted citizens.