Problem solving for one offers parties a useful tool in preparing for negotiation. Effective planning should happen before any negotiation. Planning, however, is not a script to be followed, nor a negotiation position to be taken. Remember President Dwight Eisenhower’s admonition that “Plans are worthless, but planning is everything. There is a very great distinction because when you are planning for an emergency you must start with this one thing: the very definition of ’emergency’ is that it is unexpected, therefore it is not going to happen the way you are planning.”
Think of the emergency Eisenhower mentions as surprise. Negotiators often encounter a surprise from the other party. Negotiators who have planned effectively are better prepared in how to reply to such surprises. They have thought about not only their positions, but the motivations and needs of the other party to the negotiation.
Problem solving for one provides negotiators with a quick and efficient method for understanding the negotiation situation and developing appropriate and effective strategy to dealing with surprise.