One of the more memorable books I read in business school was Getting to Yes. Its pages contained many insights about the art of negotiation. Some of the recent headlines call to mind the chapter on “Soviet-style negotiations” -the notion that negotiations are zero-sum games. If you win, I lose. I’ve been wondering what would happen if we applied some of the rhetoric we’re seeing at the international level to a smaller scale (all tongue in cheek, of course)
- Californians have been migrating to Colorado for some time now, driving-up the cost of housing and, with it, the overall cost of living. Should our governor build a wall at the border to keep all those unsavory characters out?
- What about the People’s Republic of Boulder? They think they’re so evolved and cultured. But all the worthwhile cultural venues are in Denver. Might it be a good idea to impose a tax on Subarus coming into Denver (we all know where those come from) to help pay for what those freeloader hippies are consuming?
- Let’s not mention the city of Aurora. Their values are different than ours. Should we impose a moratorium on letting folks from Aurora into Denver until we can figure-out exactly what’s going-on over there?
As with the larger arguments that inspired these questions, the logic above is over-simplified and flawed. Win-lose negotiations are short-sighted and outdated. They may reap short-term benefits, but are harmful in the long-run. For instance, while it may be tempting to think the donuts I bring every Friday are a win for you (free donuts) and a loss for me (less money), the reality is I enjoy doing it and I believe the benefit I get in terms of goodwill and morale far outweigh the costs. As with NATO, we ALL win. So come partake in this win-win arrangement we have going here at WIN!