Do you know someone who is a Greatest of All Time (“GOAT”) when dealing with problems?

I like elegant solutions, do you? When I was in Pittsburgh recently, I observed an innovative way of dealing with a big issue along the waterfront of the Monongahela (the “Mon”) River.

There is an invasive plant called knotweed that grows near the river and encroaches across the walkway above it. Guess what the grounds people use to keep the walkway clear? Hint: it isn’t a arsenal of lawnmowers, weed whackers, landscape trimmers, or blowers.

Nope, these smart Pennsylvanians turn to the experts to keep the river weeds under control. Their GOATs are …. goats! Allegheny Goats to be exact. The goats love the weed and move down their side of the walkway munching and clearing the path.

Now, how do you handle the pressure concern for the goats’ safety?

There are coyotes who would love to have a nightly goat snack. Enter in an unlikely goat herder, the donkey! Donkeys protect the goats like they would one of their offspring.

And, what keeps the goats, donkeys, and humans from invading each others’ space? A slightly charged electric fence powered by solar. Ingenious, right?

Finally, how do keep the public informed about what’s happening? Along the walkway are clever signs that communicate the process from Allegheny GoatScape.

What does this mean to you as a problem solver and negotiator?

Your negotiations can be as innovative and collaborative as the river walk. Approach your deal making as if you are addressing a problem. Use the other party or parties to help you generate ideas and solutions. A creative solution designed by those who are affected is far more likely to withstand the tests or pressures of the future.

❓ Who is your Greatest of All Time negotiator or problem solver?

❓ What innovative or elegant solutions have you observed?

Go Negotiate!!