What MLB players and owners are really negotiating about

Earlier this week, MLB owners presented their opening offer for a 2020 baseball season to their counterparts in the players’ union.

Their proposed plan to start the season in July includes half the amount of games, a redesigned divisional schedule to make it easier on players and staff, as well as a number of other logistical adjustments.

However, the central offer from ownership is a 50-50 revenue split with players, which the owners believe is reasonable based on the fact that the ticket and stadium-driven revenue from which they rely will be little to non-existent whether a season happens or not. Seems reasonable enough, right?

In his highly detailed account of the opening round of negotiations, ESPN’s Jeff Passan explains that unfortunately, the 50-50 split is likely to be a complete “non-starter” with the players’ union for a variety of challenging reasons.

First, the players feel that agreeing to split revenues in this way would resemble a salary cap, something they have strenuously avoided in the past. Second, and potentially harmful, is that the players believe both parties have already agreed to a simple pro-rated version of their salaries when they last negotiated in March. (Conversely, the owners believe the agreement was much more flexible and designed for further consideration. According to Passan, outside lawyers themselves disagree due to ambiguous wording.)

One thing that both sides appear to agree on is that if a season is to occur this year then negotiations must be completed by the beginning of June, at the latest, so that a condensed spring training can enable teams to work towards getting their players ready for July.

So as the sports-world’s greatest hope begins a two-week game of chicken, with billions of dollars to lose and the hearts of millions of fans on the line, both parties will have to address an important and challenging question – one that is being negotiated not only in professional sports but in every private industry and level of government due to the pandemic: What is fairness?

If we decide to avoid the philosophical rabbit-hole and stick to negotiation theory, we can find some solid ground. According to social psychologists, there are three types of fairness principles from which negotiators will attempt to claim value. They are: equality, equity, and need.

Equality means that parties should share any rewards, profits, or sacrifices equally, an argument the owners are looking to leverage by anchoring their opening offer with a 50-50 split.

Equity means that rewards or profits should be allocated based on who is contributing the most to the pie. For example, players are looking to frame the negotiation based on the fact that the game cannot be played without them, they are ones putting themselves at risk by gathering, and the ones who will have to live with various inconveniences such as restricted travel to see families.

Need states that the pie should be divided according to whoever most requires such resources or profits. And while this argument might not carry much weight in business normally, the pandemic has blurred many distinctions. For example, some have already pointed out that the billionaire team owners will be incredibly wealthy with or without a season, whereas the majority of the players and staff might depend on this year’s income to support their lifestyles.

Conclusion:

It will be fascinating to see how these differing versions of fairness evolve, how the parties will leverage them to frame their arguments, and most importantly, if some mixture of agreement can be found in time to save a sports season.

As a lifelong fan, I’m selfishly hoping that both parties can find their fairness balance.

For I, like Kevin James, miss baseball very much.

How to resolve a difficult negotiation or harmful conflict

In my last post, I described two of our social tendencies that have the ability to create and escalate harmful conflict. 

Below are four powerful strategies we can use when conflict escalates to the point of peril and instead change course towards a mutually beneficial outcome.

  1. Offer a reasonable concession

As counter-intuitive as it may seem to many negotiators, there are few things more effective than providing a concession when trying to break out of spiraling conflict or difficult stalemate. A great example of this can be found in the detailed account of the negotiations between The United States and Iran during the Obama presidency titled “Losing an Enemy” by Trita Parisi. In his book, Parisi demonstrates how the parties broke through the consistency trap of their previous red-line demands, as well a dangerously accelerating game of Chicken:

What resolved the nuclear issue was ultimately not the pressure the two sides could bring to bear on each other, but the discarding of unreasonable and unrealistic demands – whether the American insistence on zero enrichment or the Iranian belief that it could present Washington with a nuclear fait accompli.

In this case, it was the U.S. who blinked first, deciding to play their best card up front versus holding it until the very last. This unexpected concession surprised the Iranians. They swiftly decided to reciprocate by agreeing to negotiate with the U.S. directly, itself considered an important concession. After a successful deal was finally completed in 2015 it was this chain of events that was credited for jump-starting what was widely believed to be a lost cause.

  1. Keep the communication lines open

If we are not ready to make a significant concession at the very least expressing our openness to communicate is a must. For while it is true that “active listening is the cheapest concession we can make”, it is also true that we cannot actively listen if the other party won’t talk. Similarly, we cannot expect the other party to empathize with our situation if we choose to disengage.

So how can a proactive negotiator resurrect a broken dialogue? Two methods stand out. First, we can attempt what former FBI hostage negotiator Gary Noesner calls one way dialogue. As he explains in his book “Stalling For Time”, one way dialogue involves addressing potential unstated questions, concerns, and fears of the other party. (President Obama attempted a variation of this on a geopolitical scale when he released a video message to all of Iran soon after his 2009 election.) Second, we can attempt to set up a private dialogue outside of the formal setting, which the U.S. and Iran did by negotiating with each other in the country of Oman secretly in 2013. Also known as “going backstage”, this avenue can allow participants to explore the idea of being flexible without having to commit too early or posture for their internal audiences.

  1. Bring in a trusted 3rd party

If communication lines exist and reasonable concessions have yet to get the ball rolling there’s either too much animosity to focus on problem solving or not enough trust to believe that positive gestures will be reciprocated. It is at this point that a respected third party can be used to formally or informally mediate the conflict. For example, Parisi describes that when the U.S. and Iran finally decided they were ready to talk seriously their secret meeting was arranged and mediated by the Sultan of Oman, one of the few leaders in the Middle East who had a good relationship with both parties. Further, at crucial points when their negotiations were on the precipice, both parties relied on the Sultan to give verbal and written assurances that words could be trusted. It is often this very ability of a third party to provide a helpful private forum, along with additional positive assurances, that creates the momentum and oxygen needed to move forward.

  1. Create an intelligent compromise

Finally, whether one or a combination of the above strategies are employed, our most competitive and challenging negotiations will usually require significant creativity.

According to social psychologists, there are five effective ways we can generate integrative solutions leading to a mutually beneficial outcome. The first is known as “expanding the pie”, which involves creating additional value through the combination of the parties’ goals and interests. The second is called “nonspecific compensation”. This involves finding alternative ways to compensate each other for concessions that cannot be matched in the same form provided. The third is “cost cutting”. Cost cutting involves reducing the amount that a party will have to sacrifice in terms of actual dollars or perceived risk. The fourth is called “logrolling”, which involves taking the specific demands of each party and evaluating what trades can be made based on how differently they are valued. (A common example is one party agreeing to pay a higher price if the other will provide more generous terms.) Finally, the fifth is called “bridging”, where the underlying interests of each party are satisfyingly addressed via an outcome that is different from their original demands. Interestingly, most if not all of these creative forms of problem solving can be found in Parisi’s account of the negotiations between the U.S. and Iran.

CONCLUSION:

“The Negotiator who suffers from myopia will fix on his or her objective and assume that there is only one alternative for getting there. The more skilled negotiator will be able to discern the connection, complex though it may be, between some new alternative and the objective which they seek.” Walton & McKersie

The beauty of each of the four strategies above is they all have the potential to provide a face-saving off ramp when on a dangerous path of escalation or stalemate. However, one party will usually have to take the lead in getting things started, implementing one or more of the various strategies in a trial and error format that will test our grit and determination. Fortunately, where there is a persistent and creative will, there often is a way.

Dwight and Nellie’s Dangerous Game – What To Avoid During A Conflict

Will he actually cut off her hand? While this outcome might seem far-fetched, fans of The Office familiar with the character of Dwight have been conditioned enough by his antics to actually wonder. And while he might seem crazy enough to do it, it’s the chain of events created through Dwight and Nellie’s confrontation that makes it so believable that things have come this far. How did we get here?

The episode titled “Roy’s Wedding” from the ninth season begins with Nellie trying to gather charity donations from the employees. Dwight, showing his disgust at the idea of the strong being generous to the weak, balks completely. After being pushed in front of the group to support some type of cause, he mischievously suggests that he would like to donate to the Taliban, poisoning whatever sense of good spirit Nellie was attempting to build.

Nellie though is not one to back down. She decides the best way to teach Dwight a lesson is to call his bluff of supporting the ways of the Taliban. She does this by stealing something from Dwight, and then immediately admits that her criminality must be punished. Next, she reminds him that the correct punishment according to law would be to cut off her hand. She confidently encourages him to do so, even providing him the weapon needed to efficiently serve this method of justice.

It is with these very scenes that the writers of The Office, through Dwight and Nellie’s twisted dance, bring to life an excellent portrayal of two important concepts from the world of conflict resolution: the consistency principle and the game of Chicken.

The Consistency Principle

One of the most powerful norms in social behavior is the universal human desire to appear consistent in things we do and say, especially in front of others. There are two main reasons for this strong tendency. First, appearing inconsistent can bring negative social consequences, both short and long term. For example, according to Social Psychologist Mark E. Leary, “People who do not appear consistent are often viewed as weak, unreliable, hypocritical, deluded, or even mentally unstable.” The second reason involves the well documented phenomenon called cognitive dissonance, which states acting in a manner inconsistent with our stated beliefs or attitudes can cause significant psychological discomfort.

In the case of Dwight, who often demonstrates great pride in being viewed as a strong person capable of leading others, it was all too easy for him to fall into a consistency trap, having now to accept Nellie’s challenge to ‘put his money where his mouth is’ through violent and brutal action.

The Game of Chicken

If the consistency trap is the result of talking the talk, the game of Chicken represents walking the walk. According to Social Psychologists Pruitt & Carnevale, “the game of Chicken can be observed whenever two or more parties lock into a contest of wills in which neither side is willing to concede first and both sides stand to lose a great deal through joint intransigence.” There are two main reasons why this is especially challenging. First, it usually involves parties holding each other hostage to a mutually negative outcome, with the hopes of placing greater pressure on the other. For example, Pruitt & Carnevale write:

The message conveyed through this commitment is that now only other has control over what will happen. Party has irrevocably committed himself or herself to a threatening and costly course of action. As a result, the locus of control over the outcome of the exchange has been shifted from the shoulders of party to other, who is now the only one capable of preventing mutual disaster.

The second challenge involves our struggle to form correct impressions of the intentions of others during a negotiation or conflict. For example, consider the following scenarios. We could believe that both sides are bluffing, or that one party is bluffing and the other serious, or that both parties are serious, or that one wants us to believe they are bluffing, and on and on. In the case of Dwight and Nellie, it is Nellie who decides to call Dwight out on his bluff, escalating the game of Chicken and putting herself in harm’s way by providing Dwight with a sharp cleaver and her exposed wrist.

So this brings us back to the original question: Does he actually cut off her hand?

Luckily, the answer is no, as their co-worker Darryl arrives with a timely distraction, the episode ends, and Nellie appears unharmed going forward.

But as we take this time to binge watch Netflix and keep ourselves busy waiting for this storm to pass, it’s well worth considering how easily we might fall victim to the consistency trap, how easily we might get dragged into games of Chicken, and most importantly, how we can do our best to get ahead of them before the next round of what we miss so much begins.

3 things we can learn from the 2 trillion dollar stimulus negotiation

Late last week, the U.S. government successfully negotiated a historic stimulus plan while under great pressure to help mitigate the economic hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic.

A noteworthy outcome for many reasons, it was especially so when considering the dynamic and fast-moving conditions in which two highly adversarial parties had to come together and reach agreement.

Here are three things I believe we can learn from the negotiation:

Create the proper environment

One reason the negotiation was successful is that careful thought was given to who would lead the negotiations for each side.

For example, when negotiations began between the White House and House of Representatives, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin took the lead on behalf of the White House while House leader Nancy Pelosi took the lead for the Democrats.

This was effective for two reasons. First, the post impeachment fallout prevented the possibility of direct negotiations between Nancy Pelosi and President Trump, as the two have not exchanged words since their contentious meeting last October. Second, Nancy Pelosi and Steven Mnuchin have an established track record of success working together on important negotiations, such as the initial coronavirus relief bill, and debt-ceiling negotiations last summer.

The lesson to be taken here is the importance of creating the best environment for our negotiations to thrive. The goal should be to create a face saving environment, where negotiators who’ve proven the ability to stay rational and bring positive versus negative relational baggage into the interaction are the ones sitting across the table.

Be prepared for a rocky ride

Throughout negotiation there were a number of inflection points when new demands were made, dramatic threats were issued, and breakdowns seemed likely.

For example, days after Nancy Pelosi negotiated terms with Secretary Mnuchin on behalf of the House, Senate Republicans revised the legislation with terms that were greatly in their favor. Days later, Senate Democrats successful played hard-ball, creating an impasse to secure concessions on items they considered non-negotiable. And even after the final night of negotiations, a lone representative attempted to prevent the planned vote from happening, throwing Congress into a last minute scramble. Luckily, negotiators from both sides were able to stay focused on the end goal, continuously reverting back to problem solving each time curveballs appeared.

The lesson to be taken is to embrace the process, especially in regards to the posturing and power plays that invariably occur. Likewise, realizing that oftentimes for negotiators to persuade their constituents to accept an outcome – or to accept it themselves – they have to feel they’ve made a stand. Don’t get rattled by this ritual. Control your emotions, and never be surprised by last minute tactics to bulldoze, they’re often the norm.

Be flexible, yet firm

Finally, both sides were able to come to terms because each took a pragmatic approach, putting down their foot when needed while easing back when they were pushing the limit.

For example, after Republicans tried to renegotiate better terms for their side, Nancy Pelosi conveyed that the new terms were simply unacceptable for the Democrats, vividly and matter of factly telling Republican negotiators, “the two animals couldn’t mate.” Yet in the end, Democrats accepted enough of the newly proposed terms to ensure that a bill that included their priorities would be unanimously passed and swiftly signed by President Trump.

The lesson here is finding the right balance. Many negotiations will call for a more firmness, while some will call for more flexibility. Some will even call for us to walk away, an option that’s far more available in everyday negotiations than it was for Congress. However, as author and researcher Adam Grant pointed out in his recent NY Times article titled “In Negotiations, Givers Are Smarter Than Takers”, collaborative negotiators who use their intelligence more than their toughness tend to create better outcomes for both parties. The key then, perhaps, is to be firm yet intelligently flexible, providing ourselves with the best opportunity to discover whatever it takes for “the animals to mate”.

Tony Romo – Master Negotiator?

While former NFL quarterback Tony Romo was never able to secure his legacy with a Super Bowl trophy, he did just end up the highest paid sports analyst of all time, signing a historic long-term contract with CBS worth 17+ million dollars per year over the course of 10 years.

How did this come to be?

Avid fans of the sport know that Tony Romo has become the go-to must-hear football analyst over the past couple seasons. His incredible ability to predict what’s going to happen before it happens, while providing interesting and valuable insight on the strategy of the game has gotten so much attention that he’s even been dubbed “Romostradamus”.

After taking the broadcast world by storm, one would have to assume he would be set to make a killing when his contract expired this past February. However, the end result was a shock to many, including current NFL stars who make far less than Romo will now enjoy.

What exactly made the timing so ripe?

First, knowing that Romo’s contract with CBS was about to end, ESPN determined that signing him at a historic price before the 2020-2021 season would be a well made investment in their hopes of reviving their struggling Monday Night Football franchise. This created enormous leverage for Romo to encourage CBS to outbid their rival to retain him.

Second, Peyton Manning, after retiring as an all-time great NFL quarterback, was the next high-profile former player major networks were hoping to secure. However, despite being offered millions, and what would have probably been the highest paid sports analyst contract of all time pre-Romo, Manning decided he’s simply not ready or interested, creating even more Romo leverage.

Third, the looming multi-billion dollar negotiations between the NFL and major networks to renegotiate broadcasting rights as a follow-up to the currently being negotiated players agreement with the league. This agreement is set to redefine revenue sharing, and potentially bring future seasons to 17 or more games, an increase on the current 16 game format. Since the individual networks would like to be in a strong position in comparison to both the NFL as well as their competitors, having Romo as a top broadcaster makes him an incredibly valuable asset.

It is important to note that while Tony Romo could have let his contract with CBS expire before agreeing to a new one he did not.

All of this leads one to wonder – could Romo have known that conditions would be so ripe? So, amazingly, impressively ripe?

This would be hard to imagine. But at the same time, this is the man who made his name in broadcasting through his uncanny predictions and ability to express the future before it happens, all while looking on above the playing field.

Some do, after all, call him “Romostradamus”.

Heather Monahan on Sales, Negotiation, and Leadership

What’s one quick tip or piece of advice you would recommend for someone looking to improve at sales? 

Don’t take a no from someone who cannot give you a yes.

What’s one quick tip or piece of advice you would recommend for someone looking to improve at negotiation?

The person with the least amount of attachment to the outcome will win. There will always be another deal, don’t be desperate.

What’s one quick tip or piece of advice you would recommend for someone looking to improve at leadership? 

Leadership is not given it is earned. Be the person that others want to follow. That is the person that is focused on solutions, focused on elevating others and focused on encouragement and innovation. Take chances, break things, celebrate the process.

Is there anything else you would like to share on the topics of Sales, Negotiation, or Leadership?

Confidence is the epicenter of all three of these! In any moment you are either creating confidence or chipping away at it. The choice is yours.

For more on Heather Monahan please visit her website at https://heathermonahan.com/

Her Creating Confidence Podcast can be found at https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/creating-confidence-with-heather-monahan/id1462192400

Five years ago today I became a Sales Manager. Here are 3 things I’ve learned…

Love your people.

Always avoid taking yourself too seriously and never rely on your title for influence. Be yourself, let your guard down, and focus first on connecting with your people, even if it means being silly or putting work aside for a brief moment. It’s a simple truth that people don’t care how much you know – or that they might need to improve – until they know how much you care. Just like any important relationship, make sure to tell them as often as possible.

Choose your battles.

As much we might want control, we have to trust our people and allow space for their creativity to shine. Never believe your way is the only way to succeed just because it is how you succeeded. Gary V posted recently about not micro-managing and he is so spot on – at the end of the day, we don’t really know that something someone wants to try or how they want to approach a problem would or would not work. Another philosophy that has helped keep my ego in check is Marshall Goldsmith’s AIWATT acronym: Am I willing, at this time, to truly invest the time it will take to make a positive impact on this situation? Many times when I’ve stopped to ask this powerful question the answer is no. Holding back my immediate urge to fix or chime in has saved me countless times from damaging a relationship or losing credibility as a leader.

Keep holding yourself to a higher standard.

Finally, remember that as much as you may have an impact as a leader, coach, mentor, or manager, also remember you can always get better. Take a hard look at how many of your people are taking the time to send you thank you notes, emails, or texts about how much you’ve helped them. Strive to be so great and give so much of your all to every interaction that people feel compelled to let you know how much of an impact you’ve made. In the end, how great you are is based not on your opinion, or even your business results, but the inspiration you create in the people you lead to do more than they believed they could do.

John F. Kennedy – Negotiating Towards Peace

“Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.”

When John F. Kennedy took the podium in to deliver his inaugural address in January 1961, he did so in the context of a country on the precipice of its largest direct conflict with the Soviet Union since the beginning of the Cold War.

The dominant position held by the United States during the 1950s, due to uncontested military supremacy afforded by their nuclear advantage was now beginning to decline. Kennedy himself campaigned on the fear that the Soviet Union had reached or surpassed the ability of the United States to decimate its enemy, as well as the growing threat of communism as a political force globally, spreading in countries as large as China and near as Cuba.

However, Kennedy’s prescription was not an escalation of the arms race, nor did he view isolation on the part of the United States as a means to achieve safety. Instead, Kennedy strongly believed that negotiating with the Soviet Union as a means to halt increasingly competitive nuclear weapons tests would be an important first step towards an all important end ultimate goal – keeping additional countries from obtaining nuclear weapons that could destroy humanity.

“You have offered us an apple for an orchard. We don’t do that in this country.”

One of Kennedy’s first challenges as president was managing the long standing and turbulent Berlin crisis.

From the end of the World War II through the beginning of his presidency, Berlin had remained divided among the United States, Britain, France and Soviet Union, with each party refusing to leave out of fear that a unified Germany might irreparably swing the future balance of Europe towards either democracy or communism.

The quote above was stated by Kennedy during an oval office meeting with the Soviet Ambassador to the United States while heated negotiations over the Berlin Crisis continued in the fall of 1961. The “apple” Kennedy was referring to was a guarantee on the part of the Soviet Union and East Germany to continue to allow access to West Berlin, which Soviet Chairman Krushchev was threatening to remove if Kennedy did not meet his “orchard” of demands. These demands included an agreement that would legitimize the communist government in Eastern Germany, as well as a rollback of military forces that kept the Soviet Union from expanding its own presence in Europe.

Little did they know that just one year later they would be thrust in to negotiations over new and potentially more dangerous apples and orchards during the Cuban Missile Crisis, when the world held on for thirteen days in October 1962 as the United States and Soviet Union attempted to avoid the unthinkable.

“So, let us not be blind to our differences–but let us also direct attention to our common interests and to the means by which those differences can be resolved.”

While Kennedy negotiated his way through two perilous sparks in Berlin and Cuban, he continued to stay vigilant in his desire to find agreement with the Soviet Union to prevent continued testing of more powerful and destructive nuclear weapons.

Despite numerous breakdowns during negotiations, a resumption of the testing by the Soviet Union during the Berlin Crisis, as well as subsequent lies about strategic missiles in Cuba, Kennedy continued to maintain dialogue both publicly and privately with Krushchev, in the hopes of swaying him towards a mutually beneficial treaty that could stem their recent atomic accelerations.

But in addition to managing the impressions of the Soviets internally in a way to keep them at the bargaining table, Kennedy needed to press publicly for a test ban treaty without giving his own political rivals an opportunity to attack him for being weak on communism. He was able to manage this balance brilliantly in a commencement address at American University in June 1963 (quoted above).

Just months after what came to be known as the “peace speech”, his lead negotiator in Moscow was able to seal the deal on a historic US-Soviet treaty, prohibiting further harmful nuclear testing in the atmosphere and marking an incredible triumph of President Kennedy’s leadership towards negotiating a safer future.

Shane Ray Martin on Sales, Negotiation, and Leadership

What’s one quick tip or piece of advice you would recommend for someone looking to improve at sales?

Teach, Don’t Sell.

When we SELL, we break rapport. When we TEACH, we build rapport. With more rapport, there often is less resistance.


(From: The Ultimate Sales Machine, by Chet Holmes)

What’s one quick tip or piece of advice you would share with someone looking to improve at negotiation?

Practice infinite empathy.

Maximize your outcomes by doing these 3 things:

  • Let go of judgment – Step into your counterpart’s shoes.
  • Listen actively – Speak less, listen more.
  • Leave people better – Clear next steps to serve your counter-part.


What’s one quick tip or piece of advice you would share with someone looking to improve at leadership?

The more you give to others, the more you’ll get from them.


(From: The Go-Giver, Bob Berg)

For more on Shane Ray Martin please visit his website at https://www.shaneraymartin.com/

On LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/shane-ray-martin/

Meghan Markle – Master Negotiator?

Last month, Meghan Markle, along with her husband Prince Harry, served the British royal family with the kind of surprise notice that lawyer Rachel Zane, her past character on the show Suits, would have served her opponents in the cold-blooded world of fictional New York City law firms. This stunning fait accompli prompted the need to negotiate directly with the Queen, a much more powerful party.

Swiftly after Meghan and Harry’s decision to step back as senior members of the royal family was announced, the Queen called an emergency meeting to resolve the crisis. However, Meghan kept herself removed from the encounter by staying in Canada throughout the fallout.

The question for students of negotiation and conflict resolution is: Was this a wise move?

In a recent article on negotiating from INC.com, the author is slightly critical of Meghan for not being present for the actual negotiations. However, I differ with this conclusion.

Personally, I think it was probably a wise move for Meghan remove herself from the situation for a number of reasons. First, although it is good to face conflict head on, it doesn’t always benefit us to meet face to face initially, especially when recently broken trust means the interaction could be highly volatile. Negative reactive emotions can and often times will overwhelm an entire meeting, so much so that we can’t have rational discussions or think of rational compromises.

Further, from a hard-line strategic standpoint, it’s usually better off if the ultimate decision maker is not physically present, instead as far away as possible. For example, no matter what came up during the negotiations, Harry could lean on having to “check with Meghan” to get her approval before making any final agreements. The fact that Meghan didn’t even phone in for a live conversation (originally the plan) was positive in the sense that it created time and space.

Now, outsiders looking in could easily see the Queen as the master dealmaker in this equation. Why is this so? First, she took a firm stance on not allowing the easy breezy half-in half-out status that Harry and Meghan reportedly wanted. Second, she crafted a flexible and creative transition period over the next year, where in the couple will spend half their time in England and half in Canada. Third, another savvy move, she set up a post one-year reappraisal opportunity for both parties to see if they want to reevaluate. Fourth, she downgraded their royal titles without fully and definitely removing their formal association. Finally, she cut off the royal purse strings and secured their agreement to pay back million of dollars spent renovating their home in England.

All of this said, if you look at the outcome intangibles, it’s hard to not see Meghan as her own true winner. First and foremost, Meghan got her freedom, which is truly priceless if she feels she’s in a toxic relationship with her royal in-laws or the British media. Second, she now has immense future financial opportunity that completely outweighs and obliterates any $3 million dollar pay back, or discontinuation of royal funds. For example, according to media reports, Meghan and Harry stand to gain up to $500,000 for speaking engagements, up to $15,000,000 for a memoir, and upwards of $50,000,000 for a potential mega deal with a company such as Netflix. Even if these numbers have been exaggerated, Meghan and Harry are going to be just fine, if not better, as they’ll not only generate more personal assets but have more control over these assets – and their lives.

So while we don’t know everything that happened or was agreed to, the future will tell whether this was truly the win-win negotiation it seemed to be. Importantly in a highly public dispute, Meghan and Harry can move forward after the negotiations without losing much face, as well as having avoided causing the Queen and wider royal family to lose much face of their own. (Even though there are rumors of more sinister reasons for MEXIT, none have yet been hinted at or legitimized by the Duchess of Sussex.)

It is for these reasons that I believe Meghan Markle did extremely well as a negotiator in a difficult situation. I might even go as far to say that Meghan negotiated better than any episode of Suits I’ve ever seen, because after enjoying all seven seasons I can’t remember one when they had to face a Queen.