Having Unrealistic Expectations

Susan Podziba, a professor of mediation at Harvard and MIT, plays broker for some of the toughest

negotiations around, from public policy to marital disputes. She takes an integrative approach in the

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Having Unrealistic Expectations
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negotiations, identifying goals that are large enough to encompass both sides. As she puts it, “We are

never going to be able to sit at a table with the goal of creating peace and harmony between fishermen and

conservationists. But we can establish goals big enough to include the key interests of each party and

resolve the specific impasse we are currently facing. Setting reasonable goals at the outset that address

each party’s concerns will decrease the tension in the room, and will improve the chances of reaching an

agreement.” [13] Those who set unreasonable expectations are more likely to fail.