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To Transcend or not to Transcend?

That is the question… when negotiating.


Negotiation is not only an instrument of purpose. It is a purposeful outcome. You will be able to feel that you are doing the right thing; a growing warmth within, putting your whole being at stake.

What does it mean to choose not to Transcend in Negotiation?

What is not to Transcend?

We defined the opposite of Transcendental negotiation in the Transcend Quo Vadis Negotiator book not only as the typical act of haggling or distributive bargaining but as the give and take of negotiations.

What is to Transcend?

We define it as the creative environment to generate options, such as integrative bargaining, and, above all, the search for permanence and significance for future generations (transgenerational tradeables).

Negotiation is a continuous dance of postures. Through a process of communication and persuasion, you can discover the interests behind the postures. This will finally help generate options to meet the interests of the parties and reach an agreement. Or, failing that, to seek the best alternative.

The negotiator is more likely to move from the transaction to the transcendent if we approach the negotiating as an art.

If we only focus on the transaction of simple objects or services, we will not necessarily leave a legacy for future generations. Since we are only focused on doing and having in the present we end up putting up blinds on the future.

Grandparents used to proactively advocate dealing with others on ethical foundations. The family name was worth more than money. Tarnish to the family name could not be compensated, because the damage extended several generations. Not long ago, the last name of the person was all you needed to give credibility and trust. Moreover, if one asked for a bank loan, the family name reputation was sufficient collateral.

How do you build credibility in negotiating?

If Grandpa had a reliable and reputable business, this provided leverage when the grandson negotiated. As long as the grandson continued with the same philosophy, building upon his grandfather’s legacy.

To transcend in business is to create the best conditions in the present and consolidate them for future generations. To achieve this, we must concentrate on what we are; we must focus on Being.

How to end the transcendence?

If the sons and daughters don’t bother to Transcend, this would reflect why many family businesses fail in the second generation. In the next negotiation in which you participate, ask yourself if you’ll leave a positive, permanent mark. Most importantly one must ask, through these actions; Will I show my children how to be an ethical negotiator?

Are my children going to feel ashamed of my negotiations? Is this because my actions and my example only focused on getting as much as I can?

What it is required to Transcend?

Transcending the negotiation requires that the negotiator is able to keep his word, as did his ancestors. A responsibility fulfilled transcends to past and future generations. However, new generations do not have clarity in their identity; today’s culture tends to homogenize and to dismiss the value of family ownership. In this context, forming ethical negotiators involves a series of principles that are the basis of our civilization. These pillars are prudence, justice, fortitude, temperance and discernment.

Pope Francis I on Transcendance

This transcendental dimension of negotiation also incorporates the notion of common good. As suggested by Pope Francis I, involves considering future generations.

International economic crises have starkly shown harmful effects brought about by a failure to recognize a common destiny, the fallout from which cannot exclude those who come after us. You cannot talkabout sustainable development without intergenerational solidarity. When we think about the planet we leave to future generations and how we are educating them, we enter into another dynamic, the free gift we receive and communicate. While the earth is a gift, it does not belong to us; therefore, we cannot act from a utilitarian criterion of efficiency and productivity for individual benefit. We are not talking about an optional attitude but a basic question of justice, since the land we received also belongs to those who come after us.

Recommendation to Transcend

While exploring these pillars, I recommend that you perform a self-reflection upon your position as a negotiator with ethical sense.

Final Reflection

I wonder what world we are going to leave to our kids? and more importantly what type of kids are we leaving to our world. Extract from Transcend Quo Vadis Negotiator book by Dr. Habib Chamoun-Nicolas


In order to transcend in the negotiation the key is to put in practice the cardinal virtues and the good news is that these virtues of prudence, justice, fortitude, temperance and discernment are skills that could be learned by practicing.

About the Author — Habib Chamoun

AvatarDr. Chamoun-Nicolas graduated with a Post Doctoral Degree working with Elf-Aquitaine (TOTAL) Production in France, from University of Texas at Austin with a PhD. And masters in Science from the Petroleum and Chemical Departments and with a Bachelor in Science of Chemical Engineering and Business Administration from the Monterrey Institute of Technology and has participated in several special executive programs, such as the Program on Negotiation at Harvard University and the Brazilian Seminar at the International School of Business at the University of South Carolina. Dr. Chamoun has participated early on his professional career on a program equivalent to an “Executive MBA hands on experience” called “Marketing Associates” with Fluor Daniel in Irvine California. Dr. Chamoun has also been an invited guest speaker and instructor at several universities: Thunderbird School of International Business in the GLOBAL MBA program, MBOC at the University of Texas, PANAM, University of Texas Dallas Cohort MBA program, and the University of Houston on Negotiation and Business development related topics. Dr Chamoun has participated as a professor at the Virtual University of the Monterrey Institute of Technology in Mexico. The Autonomous University of Honduras, Business International School of San Pedro Sula and Catholic University of Guayaquil Ecuador is among the Central and Latin America Universities where he has taught negotiation.

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