Episode 243: Negotiating Beyond Entrenched Viewpoints: Lessons from the Middle East with Corey Kupfer

Season #1

DealQuest community, I want to delve deeper into the complexities of negotiations and deal-making by drawing insights from my recent trip to the Middle East. While exploring Israel, Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Jordan, I observed not only the entrenchment of viewpoints but also the influence of leadership agendas on conflict resolution. 



The Middle East is a region fraught with historical, political, and cultural complexities. It's important to acknowledge that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and other issues in the region cannot be simplified or easily resolved. By examining the negotiation dynamics at play, however, we can gain insights applicable to various contexts.


  1. Leadership Agendas and Individual Interests: Challenges in the Middle East are much like those in business negotiations, and often arise from leadership agendas and individual motivations. In both contexts, personal, political, or power-driven interests can hinder progress. It's important to acknowledge and address these individual agendas to reach mutually beneficial outcomes and find common ground.

  2. The Role of Intermediaries: In both international conflicts and business negotiations, involving a neutral third party, such as a mediator or trusted advisor, can bring valuable benefits. These intermediaries offer fresh perspectives, and objective guidance, and help bridge gaps between conflicting parties. Their involvement facilitates communication, fosters understanding, and greatly enhances the chances of resolving disputes and finding mutually agreeable solutions.

  3. Confidentiality and Open Dialogue: Confidentiality is crucial in negotiations, whether in international conflicts or business deals. It creates a safe space for individuals to express their desires, concerns, and fears, fostering open dialogue and trust. As a negotiator or mediator, separate conversations with each party are essential to gain a deep understanding of their perspectives and interests. This understanding forms the basis for finding common ground and facilitating a resolution that satisfies everyone involved.

  4. The Power of Self-Transformation: Self-transformation plays a significant role in negotiation processes. By working on ourselves and developing a deep understanding of our own values, fears, and desires, we can approach negotiations with clarity and authenticity. This self-awareness enables us to recognize and manage our own biases, allowing for more effective communication and a greater likelihood of successful outcomes. When individuals transform themselves, it positively influences the negotiation dynamics and increases the chances of finding mutually beneficial solutions.


The lessons from the Middle East can be directly applied to business negotiations. By addressing individual agendas, fostering open dialogue, and involving neutral facilitators, businesses can navigate conflicts and reach satisfactory resolutions. Recognizing that people within a group or organization may hold diverse viewpoints is crucial to understanding their motivations and finding shared objectives. Incorporating confidentiality and open dialogue into negotiations helps build trust and encourages creative problem-solving.

It is clear that negotiating beyond entrenched viewpoints requires a multifaceted approach. By managing individual agendas, involving neutral facilitators, fostering open dialogue, and focusing on self-transformation, we can navigate complex negotiations and achieve positive results.


While the challenges in international conflicts may differ in scale and magnitude from typical business deals, the underlying principles remain the same. By applying these lessons, we can strive for more successful negotiations and contribute to creating a world where resolutions are found, and conflicts are resolved in a peaceful and productive manner. 

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Corey Kupfer is an expert strategist, negotiator, and dealmaker. He has more than 35 years of professional deal-making and negotiating experience. Corey is a successful entrepreneur, attorney, consultant, author, and professional speaker. He is deeply passionate about deal-driven growth. He is also the creator and host of the DealQuest Podcast. 

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