Four Practices That Hinder Political Negotiations

This is the seventeenth in a weekly series regarding the state of leadership in America. Having been in leadership positions nearly my entire 40 year career, I participated in a variety of negotiations, especially as a director of human resources. After taking part in these negotiating sessions, I offer a few observations intended to help forge a better working relationship between the Executive and Legislative Branches and avoid debilitating gridlocks and fiscal cliffs now and in the future. In general, constructive negotiations can assist in keeping everyone focused on finding ways to work together to create win-win solutions for our country’s problems. First, it is critical that both sides in a negotiation agree on a definition of the issues and the scope of the negotiations. Without agreement on these points, personal agendas may take over the negotiations. Second, publicly professing unyielding ideologies and principles prior to and during negotiations leaves little room for any kind of meaningful dialogue on the issues. The negotiating table is no place to espouse a deep-seated belief in a particular agenda of a political movement or personal crusade. Third, everything cannot be a must have win for one party. No one person or political party has a monopoly on what is the right course of action for our nation. A willingness to compromise must be embraced by both parties or else a win-win solution is unlikely. Fourth, both sides presenting a partisan assessment on how the negotiations are proceeding to the public in a daily update via a campaign-style media blitz is not conducive to building trust between the negotiating members. It is counter-productive to publicly attack the person or persons you are negotiating with in the media. Publicly slamming each other only builds resentment and makes it harder to reach an agreement. The final outcome should not be a victory for one party and a defeat for the other. For negotiations to be successful and lasting, both parties must have obtained something that was important to them and their respective constituents. A slam dunk by one side over the other will only breed animosity and a desire for retribution. At the next negotiating session it will be much more difficult to fashion an agreement. I offer these comments as constructive criticism with the desire and hope that our government officials can work together to govern our Republic.

This entry was posted in Business, Government, Leadership, Leadership DNA, Management, Paul Okum, Politics. Bookmark the permalink.

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