One of the most troubling problems in American politics is the wide separation in opinions on tackling the financial crisis. There have always been differences of opinion, but is seems that there are fewer political figures in the middle; i.e., there are too many on the far right or left. Many ideas are discussed on methods to resolve the financial crisis, but the sides become too entrenched and fail to seek middle ground solutions. The negotiated tax resolution passed the house and senate and it marks a negotiated deal that came about because of leadership, relationship, and compromise. There are people that do not care for the deal terms or have a different way of solving the problem. However, the ability to compromise among leaders that in turn drove the settlement to a proper conclusion provides a great example of negotiating to achieve the common good.
Those that stand out in this deal structure are Mitch McConnell and Joe Biden. The two have known each other for a long time and demonstrated an ability to work together. They found some sort of middle ground and then sold the solution to their respective parties. Essentially, when the pressure was on, these two found a means of working together and bringing their parties along with the vote to pass the legislation. The winners of this legislation are the taxpayers, these two leaders, and in the end, the Bush Administration deserves credit for implementing the cuts. It is clear that a larger fight will come on the spending and debt ceiling issue, but one can only hope that similar leadership will prevail.
The goal of any negotiation is to achieve a resolution of some situation, business or crisis. The use of pressuring via different mechanisms becomes part of the process. Over the last few weeks, one could see the two political sides using public sentiment and fear to their advantage in the negotiations. Negotiating parties should expect the use of different forms of pressures during a negotiation, especially in an adverse situation; for example, legal actions are an example of pressuring mechanisms. The ability to develop a relationship or make use of an existing one between the parties can help bring discussions toward acceptable terms. Sometimes, requesting a change in the negotiating party to someone where a relationship exits helps; i.e., that occurred in this tax negotiation. Leadership is helpful when it is necessary to take a stand or guide your side to accept a resolution where serious compromise is part of the final arrangements.
Each of the mentioned key factors came about to resolve the tax issues and reach a deal. Many on both sides did not like the final deal, but leadership helped sell the compromise. Reaching a negotiated settlement often means both parties give up things and gain things, it does not need to be a Winner-Take-All settlement! In this case, the clarity provided to the public along with the benefit to the taxpayers provided a greater good. Apparently, the markets approve, at least for the short term.
The take home message for consideration is that you develop the following skills before your next negotiations.
Leadership: Leading your side toward a settlement may mean taking them in a direction they feel is not suitable. Your ability to show them the way and teach them how the resolution works for them is essential. A Win-Win is often the best solution but this does not happen in every negotiation. When terms seem bad, your ability to help them understand the benefits is critical.
Relationship: Development of a relationship with the negotiator on the other side has benefit. If this is not possible, perhaps you can request a different person to represent the other side. It is easier to discuss all aspects of a deal when trust and understanding exists. Tempers tend to flair less and the parties can become more goals oriented to seek solutions.
Compromise: You should never expect to get everything you want, but be happy if you do. Understanding your bottom lines in a negotiated settlement is essential before starting. This requires doing your homework and identifying counter arguments based on logic. Learn what you can give up before your start and ask for things more important to you in return. Compromising is the key. Leave the Winner Take All attitude at home.
Do you agree? Please comment on your views.
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