Ask Alignor

What if other people do not know their own interests?

As a general rule, most people do in fact know their own interests. You should therefore be careful about assuming that you know other people’s interests better than they do. On the other hand, there are times when, for a variety of reasons, people may be confused or unclear about what their true interests are. In those cases, you should consider whether it is possible and/or desirable to try to educate those stakeholders about what their true interests are. If you determine that it may be too difficult to do this, or that it is not worth the effort, then you can attempt to negotiate with that stakeholder based on their apparently mistaken belief about their interests. Just be aware that if in the future the stakeholder changes their views about their true interests, whatever “agreements” you may have made on the basis of their previous misunderstandings about their interests may prove shortlived.