It’s about the process

We teach negotiation to business people and I was reminded again today that one of the key aspects of successful negotiation that too many of us forget is that negotiation is a process. If one side or the other feels left out of the process, negotiation is unlikely to be successful.

The reminder today was two-fold. As a resident of California I am watching our so-called government try to negotiate a new budget. Since the Republican minority has no say in virtually anything else that goes on in California, they use the budget to make a statement that you can’t ignore them all year long and then expect them to play nice. Since the budget requires a yes vote from some of them, it is their one chance to exercise “power.” Now that we have changed the voting district policy in California from one where the incumbent party can almost never lose to one that is likely to be more fair, it might be time to change the law to allow a simple majority to pass the budget and then let the party in power take the credit or the blame at the polls.

The second thing that tweaked me on this negotiation issue was a statement by House Majority Leader Steny (is that really his name?) Hoyer that it was likely to take until mid-February to pass the stimulus bill. Republicans quoted in the article noted that the bill could probably “win broad Republican support if Republicans are given a fair opportunity to shape it.”

It’s about the process. If you want a successful negotiation, remember it’s a process.


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