Success in Consensus Building

Larry Susskind

Co-Director of the Public Disputes Program, Inter-University Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School

Interviewed by Julian Portilla, 2003


This rough transcript provides a text alternative to audio. We apologize for occasional errors and unintelligible sections (which are marked with ???).

The inspirational moments are those moments when you actually manage to get people who are combatants or potential combatants on some question or issue, to actually come and sit down around the table and to agree on what they're going to talk about, and how they're going to talk and get started. That's definitely a high. Whether you then generate an agreement or not, separate question.

In many instances I feel like we did the best we could. Sometimes a party has a better alternative away from the negotiating table then anybody can come up with to offer them at the table and it's appropriate for there to be no agreement. So I don't measure my sense of satisfaction or my sense of our contribution by virtue of everybody analyzing an agreement. Rather its based on whether we've done all that we can under the circumstances.