The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

MLDP Recap: Problem Solving, Decision Making, and Negotiation with John Burwell Garvey, Professor and Director, Daniel Webster Scholar Honors Program, UNH School of Law

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Read a student's account of our most recent session in our Management Leadership and Development program below. For more information, about MLDP, click here.

This past Tuesday, we had the pleasure of receiving Professor John Burwell Garvey of the UNH School of Law to talk to us about Problem Solving, Decision Making, and Negotiation.  He explained that decision-making for the individual is about finding out your options and doing the most to keep your options open, all things being equal. This resonated with me because I believe that Dartmouth is all about keeping our options open – there are so many opportunities available to us that it pays to be strategic about what we chose to spend our time on.

But what if it’s not just your decision? You need to negotiate – find where the interests of each party intersect and work towards a compromise.  What I found particularly interesting was Professor Garvey’s insight that it is in the closing stage where good negotiators often make the most gains. According to Professor Garvey, patience is key.

We concluded with a scenario where we were astronauts traveling to meet another ship that had crash landed. We were then divided into two groups, and had to decide who stayed and who hiked to get help as well as how to divide our “supplies” between us. Yartiza Gonzalez ’15 commented on the importance of cooperation and understanding in the activity: “The ideal negotiation requires one to not just be focused on one’s own self-interest, but also on others’ interests.” It was a fun and engaging exercise, especially because our overall goal was to keep everyone alive – there was some push and pull between those staying and those going, but ultimately everyone worked together to “make the pie bigger.” 

- Written by Nicole Boyd ‘15

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