Do you remember Paula and Martin, whose dilemmas were showcased in the introduction? Both reflect real negotiators confronted with difficult situations. They could achieve what they needed by methodologically applying the insights and practices of our Quantum approach.

Paula's aggressive, hardball negotiation strategy with the wholesale “Goliath” had led to a stalemate that culminated in a disastrous two‐hour meeting. That meeting left Paula and Ben, the buyer, exasperated; and Paula was in a panic from seeing this deal, one that could make or break her career, in jeopardy.

It took this moment of crisis to make her step back and evaluate her role in creating this dilemma. Explicit situations carry this risk of becoming so locked in to our goals and approach that we lose perspective. A significant crisis or an experience of near failure can be exactly what we need to regain perspective, understand the quantum variables involved, redirect our actions, reset the relationship, and thereby restore the chances of success.

Paula was able to transform her approach to this more virtuous cycle. She approached Ben's context, specifically the retail supply chain, with new openness and curiosity. She also discovered how anxious she had been and how her fear of failure and perception of risk and scarcity of options drove her aggressiveness toward Ben. This was aggravated by a prevailing norm in her own organization where overachieving aggressive goals was a badge of honor. In ...

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