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Why is it important to do a risk analysis or think about the consequences of not coming to agreement?

Most of the time, it is more fun to think about collaborating with other people than to consider the possibility of not coming to agreement. Sometimes, however, it is extremely important to do a risk analysis and think about the consequences of not coming to agreement. Why is this? For one thing, you cannot rationally set a bottom line for a negotiated agreement unless you know what will likely happen if you do not come to agreement. In addition, if you do a risk analysis and determine that the consequences of not coming to agreement are unacceptable to you, that can motivate you to be more reasonable or creative in your negotiation so as to find a way to come to agreement. Similarly, if you determine that other stakeholders cannot afford the consequences of not coming to agreement, then you can use that information strategically to educate those stakeholders about why it makes sense for them to come to agreement. Ironically, the very act of analyzing what may happen if you do not come to agreement can make it more likely that you and other stakeholders find a way to come to agreement!

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