Monthly Archives: December 2015

MS Eagles on Santa’s Naughty List


Just a few weeks before Christmas, MS Eagles discovered they had been added to Santa’s Naughty List.

What to do?  With no time to spare, each MS Eagle had to write a letter to Santa to negotiate a return to the “nice side” of the ledger.

Some MS Eagles thought the challenge a bit light at first, but after a series of detailed writing exercises, critiques, drafts and edits, the results speak for themselves.

Did your MS Eagle escape from the Naughty List?  You be the judge.  And along the way, you can celebrate your Eagle’s progress in writing skills this year, as well as offer some growth mindset encouragement for the months ahead.

A Negotiations Fable and Framework

north wind

This year’s Overarching Question:  “Must a hero conquer fear to find true love?”  was answered by all the hard work MS and LP Eagles put into their Negotiations Quests.  Because in a Win-Win Negotiation, you must set aside the fear of being duped for long enough to hear what the other side truly values.

Yes, tackling Harvard, MIT and other role plays and well tested challenges like The Prisoner’s Dilemma was important.  So was learning your natural  negotiating style, from Avoidance to Accommodation to Collaborative to Competitive, and how to predict what your partner on the other side of the table might do.

Equally valuable was following a disciplined process,from Preparation to Questions to Bargaining to Closing, as well as setting the right first impression; asking about your partner’s needs and interests.

But nothing in win-win negotiation is more important than:

  1. Getting each what he or she values most;
  2.  Finding hidden treasures your partner will share; and
  3.   Setting incentives that encourage long term cooperation.

All of these require trust, which means giving up the fear of being hoodwinked, which makes being warmhearted far more important than the skills of a tough bargainer.  Or as Aesop put it:

Fable text

In the end, Eagles created a valuable framework below to complement Aesop’s fable, both of which will serve them well on their Heroes’ Journeys.

neg framework

Learning to Learn in Launchpad


Launchpad in Session Three has featured two major initiatives, an introduction to the Mock Trial Competition and a Negotiating Quest.

Award winning Mock Trial Coach Karen Reynolds is helping LP Eagles begin a two month sprint towards a late January competition with hands-on, in person coaching.

In the Negotiations Quest, Launchpadders devoured a series of DVD lectures by world class negotiator Herb Cohen, preparing for a series of role plays that moved from simple distributive negotiations to complex multi-party win-win scenarios.

As Launchpadders moved between two such different learning experiences, they experimented with six different note taking methods, from the Cornell method to Outlining to Mind Mapping.

Having two intense but different approaches to prepare for hands on challenges gave us the chance to explore which approach to learning works best.   So for a Genre Project, each LP Eagle tackled a “compare and contrast” paper to explore which method packed as much learning as possible, in the least amount of time, in the most enjoyable way, for the lowest possible cost.

Which approach worked best?    We won’t spoil the surprise, but will leave it for parents to discover, as they compare this session’s Genre piece to earlier writing work, to see just how far Launchpadders have come in their analytical and communication skills.


MS Foreign Relations

win win

Our Middle School Eagles have been on a three week Negotiations Quest.

You might think negotiations are merely haggling – issuing demands and holding your ground.  Bargaining certainly can be a critical part of a negotiations strategy, but as the MS Eagles discovered, it’s far better to “make the pie bigger” with a win-win approach than to battle over crumbs.

During the session, MS Eagles tackled a series of difficult negotiating role plays, moving from simple distributive negotiating, mainly over price;  to destructive “lose-lose” battles to be avoided at all costs; to more complex “win-win” negotiations that require a humble demeanor, listening, creativity and generosity; to the complexity of multiparty negotiations.

Along the way, MS Eagles listened to Master Negotiator Herb Cohen, who gave a key piece of advice – “you gotta care….but not that much.”

Our final test was a real world negotiation.  Some MS Eagles made a win-win approach to  parents; others elected to engage in “foreign relations” with the Elementary Studio, hoping to craft an Eagle Buck treaty between studios.  In both cases, the results had to be “win-win,” with complete honesty and a relationship that was stronger at the end of the discussions than at the beginning.

The result?  Across the board success. Those who entered discussions with parents found that a carefully timed approach, attention to the relationship and a generous heart led to far better results than bickering.  And with the Elementary Studio deliberations, Eagles were surprised by the number of win-win issues that surfaced, in the end signing a Trans-Studio Eagle Buck Treaty.

Yes, it’s important to identify whether your opponent has a competitive, destructive or collaborative intent.  But as our MS Eagles discovered, when possible, win-win negotiations make the pie bigger for all.