So, what if the other side tries to break down the separation?
The easy answer is: Don’t let them. And if you understand how it’s commonly done, you won’t.
There are only two tactics the other side can use to get the negotiator to merge the roles. To be fair, they may not see it as an adversarial tactic at all; from their point of view they’re trying to close the deal. They think the negotiation is done, whereas you know that the negotiation isn’t done—you’re not ready for the closing—until the commander reviews the negotiated terms.
One tactic a negotiator can try when someone asks for more time to make a decision is the “ego play.” The other is the negotiating deadline.
The ego play works as some sort of variation on the old line: “Who wears the pants in your family, anyway?”
Sure, generally it’s done much more subtly, but you get the idea. The best way to deal with ego plays is to recognize that that’s what’s going down. We all need a stroke now and again—but don’t look for it from the other negotiator.
I’ll go into deadlines in greater detail in Chapter 8, “The Two Ds—Demands and Deadlines.” Along with demands, it’s one of the two Ds that rookie negotiators fear but old pro’s love. You can skip ahead, or you can remember this until we get there: Most deadlines are bullshit.
And most of the ones that aren’t can be negotiated.
And the ones that can’t are bullshit.
If the deal you’ve negotiated isn’t strong enough to allow you a few hours of contemplation or whatever you need, it’s not a good deal. Period.