Negotiating

THE EIGHTEENTH CAMEL 

A wealthy merchant from the east passed away. In his will, the man stated equally division of his wealth to three sons but his most treasured camels were divided in rather challenging way.

According to the will the eldest son was to be given half of the camels, the middle son was to be given one third of the camels, and the youngest son was to be given one ninth of the camels. The merchant had seventeen cattle. As it was not possible to divide 17 camels into half, one third or even into one ninth. The three son started fighting with each other for their fair share of the camels.

Since the sons were not able distribute the camel among them, they went to a wise man for advice. The wise man patiently listened about the sons’ dilemma. After carefully understanding the situation the wise man brought one of his camels and added to the the seventeen camels of the merchant. That increased the total to eighteen (18) camels.

Now, he started reading the deceased father’s will and divided the camels. Half of eighteen  is nine. So he gave the eldest son nine camels. One third of the eighteen is six, so he gave the middle son six camels. The youngest son got one ninth of the eighteen camels, so he gave him two camels.

After giving nine, six and two camels to the sons, he successfully distributed seventeen camels. The wise man took back his camel.

Moral :The attitude of negotiation and problem solving is to find the 18th camel i.e. the common ground. Once a person is able to find the common ground, the issue is resolved. It is difficult at times. However, to reach a solution, the first step is to believe that there is a solution. If we think that there is no solution, we won’t be able to reach anywhere!

"Successful negotiation is not about getting to 'yes'; it's about mastering 'no' and understanding what the path to an agreement is." - Christopher Voss