When the collaborative divorce neutral facilitator meets with the clients for the first time, she begins by asking them to describe their goals, what they would like to accomplish in their divorce. Then she explains the importance of understanding the difference between a position and a goal or an interest.
A position is a specific demand. An interest is the reason at the heart of the position taken. Increased stress often masks the true motives that influence people to take the positions that they do. The interest is the underlying concern or need, more general than a position, and therefore open to interpretation.
Interest-based negotiation encourages each participant to understand where the other is “coming from.” Position-based negotiation is an adversarial approach that considers only one side, “what I want.” It limits each person to considering only his or her wants and needs, and restricts the negotiation process in the same way that blinders impede a horse’s vision.