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Thursday, March 30, 2017

The Art of Negotiation and Politics

Negotiation is a mainstay of life that we engage with in business, life, politics and our personal relationships. Learning how to negotiate can make a big difference in the frequency in which you get what you want when dealing with people. The essence is knowing what you want and knowing what you are willing to give up, or compromise, to get it!

It is rare to find a winner takes all outcome unless you are owning all of the chips and leverage. Few people have all the power to force their opinions. However, it is possible to get more of what you want if you are willing to find commonality and mutual benefits with the person you are negotiating with.

Consider that there are two different parties to any negotiation (i.e. Democrat and Republican). One party wants one thing and another party wants something seemingly opposed. If we think out of the box we can often find that at the root there are essentially similar arguments but are sought after in different manners.

For example, healthcare is a big contentious issue. One group seeks a more universal healthcare system while the other seeks to reduce government spending. They are opposed to each other by the big versus little government philosophies. Yet the core issues don't change.

Politicians often argue over the size and cost of healthcare. It is an important argument but not the essential one. The essential argument is over the health quality of our citizens and which method we are seeking to implement that will help our citizens become more healthy in a way we can afford.

Focusing more on how to improve the health of our citizens is a common argument that if a well designed system is created is both cost effective and beneficial. Yet we don't go deep enough as patents, profits, pharmaceutical companies, and the economy are also part of what makes any system expensive. We skip over what contributes to costly healthcare and focus more on the argument.

To solve problems like this requires negotiation on a different level:

1.) Break down arguments to their root issues.
2.) Investigate and understand what causes those problems.
3.) Think of possible solutions to such issues.
4.) Ground check the argument with the opposing side to see if it is something they can support.
5.) Share potential solutions with all stakeholders involved in the negotiation.
6.) Be willing to give and take in the process as each side hashes out their concerns.
7.) Once the solution is achieved try and have both sides sell it to their stakeholders.


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