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

Problem Solving, Decision Making, and Negotiation with John Garvey

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Professor John Garvey shared problem solving strategies with participants in MLDP this week. Photo by Hung Nguyen ’18.

This week’s presenter was Professor John Garvey, the Director of the Daniel Webster Scholar Honors Program at the University of New Hampshire School of Law. Professor Garvey’s talk was entitled “Problem Solving, Decision Making, and Negotiation.”

Professor Garvey began the session with an overview of what negotiation is, where we see it in everyday life, and why it is important for leaders to know how to negotiate effectively. He told students about concepts such as “BATNA” (Best Alternative To Negotiated Agreement) and the three F’s: Firm, Fair and Friendly. These three adjectives, Professor Garvey explained, are all necessary traits to have in order to obtain a favorable outcome in the short term and be respected in the long term as a negotiator.

MLDP participants share a laugh during John Garvey's session on Negotiation. Photo by Hung Nguyen ’18.

After his introduction, Professor Garvey divided the students into groups of three, for more hands-on practice with negotiation. Each group was given the same scenario: three non-profit organizations, all working to help the homeless in a fictional city, needed to divide money between them given certain conditions. Each student represented a different organization. At the end, no group ended up dividing the money the same way, and Professor Garvey reviewed each group’s debates to exhibit the principles he laid out in the beginning.

Participants felt that Professor Garvey’s presentation was highly relevant to their roles on campus, and shed light on a facet of leadership that some had rarely taken the time to analyze or practice. One student commented: “Learning the intricacies of the art of negotiation was extremely helpful for me in thinking about how different student organizations interact with the administrators and other organizations to get their initiatives accomplished.”

-Written by Jasper Bingham ’17, MLDP Student Program Assistant 

This ongoing series explores sessions of the Management and Leadership Development Program (MLDP) through participant narratives. MLDP is a one-term program designed to develop citizen leaders among sophomores, juniors, and seniors at Dartmouth College. Led by expert guest speakers each week, sessions employ experiential teaching techniques to engage students through hands-on learning of core management and leadership skills.

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