Government Shut Downs & Negotiation Failures

 

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Let’s try to learn something from our politicians.  I don’t want to make this a political commentary, so I am going to stay away from Left or Right stances and just talk about how the U.S. federal government really needs to learn how to negotiate.

We all negotiate.  Whether it be at work or at home (negotiating with my wife is usually depressing for me).  Negotiating is defined as “to deal or bargain with another or others, as in the preparation of a treaty or contract or in preliminaries to a business deal.”  Negotiation usually requires discussion, something that as a culture, we have gotten to be very bad at.  We talk at people, not to people.  We have become narcissistic (do you really think people on Facebook really care what cereal you ate this morning?).

I think dialog is becoming a lost art.  Discussion, conversation, and listening are tools that we use to empathize with another’s beliefs and decisions.  Empathy is not a bad thing.  It helps us to understand the other’s perspective.  We all have different experiences that drive us to make choices in life.  We should respect the beliefs of others, even if we don’t agree.

So how can we use these tools to better negotiate?

1. Sit down and talk.
2. Build a relationship.
3. Gain some perspective.
4. Know the difference between the “must-haves” and the “nice-to-haves”.
5. Give up where it makes sense.
6. Find ways to let the other side win.
7. It’s not wrong to change your mind.
8. Think about the team, not your pride.

When the deal is done you should feel like both sides win.  If you don’t, it wasn’t a good negotiation, even if you got everything you wanted.  The reason – animosity.  Your next negotiation with that person/firm/client won’t be as easy.  Think past this agreement and into the next several agreements.  If you both come out winners you are likely to strike some deals in the future as well.

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