Negotiating – A Global Challenge

Negotiation is an exchange of different objectives with the goal of finding a common ground for a mutually acceptable compromise; it is something that should be workable for both parties. Anything beyond that is not negotiation, rather a flaunting of might or arrogant forcefulness, a kind of desensitization of respect. Negotiation requires mutual respect not mutual trust. Trust is something that is gained through negotiation not integral to it. Trust comes through negotiation and interaction. If we feel that we should trust our opponent from the beginning then we are being trite.

When talking negotiations, most people from North America would likely consider themselves to be upright in their interactions. This is good, when negotiating amongst ourselves or with those who hold the same core values and ideals as we do. But, in this world not all people hold the same core values and ideals. We can look to the Middle East and conflicts taking place in the world today to realize that not everyone thinks same.

Perhaps we can see a thread of puritan ideals, when trying to realize a world in which everyone should be “good” and at the same time a good that has been dictated by our cultural values. How can we describe “good” in a way that crosses all cultures? I ask this because I was fortunate to live twenty years of my life in a culture that is quite different from that into which I was born, a culture where I learned that “good” can mean something much different than what I was taught as a child.

In “The Art of War“, by the classical Chinese strategist “Sun Zi“, he talks of understanding as a strategy. He said:

Know yourself and know your adversary and you will win one hundred battles,

Know yourself and know not your adversary and you will win fifty battles…

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