Bite-size Case Study

Finding sweet spot solutions: Greek yogurt

Published on April 28, 2021 Originally recorded 2021   3 min
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What is the Sweet Spot? The inspiration for my book, Negotiating The Sweet Spot, the art of leaving nothing on the table, actually came from a story that I read when I first started doing research on negotiation. That story, attributed to business scholar Mary Parker Follett, involves two sisters quarreling over a single orange. Now look, I could not find clip art of two sisters. Let's imagine that these are two brothers, maybe the property brothers, like we see on American TV. They have a long-term relationship, they're in business together, and hopefully, they're imagining a long future together, but the problem is there's only a single orange. One of the brothers threatens the other saying, "Look, it's my turn to get the orange." The other brother says, "Not so fast, I demand to have it." Finally they decide that they're going to cut the orange exactly in half because that seems fair, it seems like a reasonable compromise. One brother squeezes out the juice, and throws the peel away, the other brother takes his half of the orange, carefully zests the peel to make his orange scone recipes for the open house and throws the juice away and then the garbage truck comes and goes. Then they look at each other, agasp because it's only then did they realize that one of them only wanted the juice, the other only wanted the peel, and they missed the sweet spot. Had they carefully remove the peel from the orange rather than cutting it in half, they would have both been wildly happier. So that's kind of a silly story but I argue that in workplace and business negotiations, we often do exactly like the property brothers did. We cut the orange in half rather than doing what it takes to find the sweet spot solution.