Last Friday I had the pleasure of addressing 25 executives in the Twin Cities regarding conflict resolution associated with my book coming out this fall entitled Peaceful Resolutions. This audience was engaged and liked the idea of the book, a corresponding workbook to discuss in a group setting and a web site with various types of information being shared on the internet. A question came up as to whether these techniques used to de-escalate conflict, enhance communication, promote discussion, assist with negotiations, embrace mediation and work towards collaboration work in an international setting.
I offered that on an international setting the party needs to do their homework related to the other culture and have someone on their team that understands the nuances of the other culture. Having been involved with international transfer pricing issues I have seen this first hand. As Americans we tend to be direct and come to conclusions quickly. That is part of our culture. Today I received this article with some very good ideas for those involved with international negotiations. This article formulates some generalizations that I think you may find useful if you are involved with international issues. I sent this article back to the organizer of the meeting I attended last Friday to share it with the participants. This is a starting point. On my blog, ManagingResolustion.org on August 17, 2015 I presented additional ideas for international negotiations. You can conduct research on this topic form the Program on Negotiations at the Harvard Law School and obtain additional insights as well as research other sources. The Program on Negotiations has a host of free articles on this and other negotiation topics.
But wait, don’t we have various cultures within the U.S. too? Having worked at the IRS 28 years, I can tell you the IRS has its own culture and it is further refined geographically and divisionally. Can we apply these techniques right here as well? Having been in negotiations from Miami, to Boston, Seattle to Los Angeles I can tell you the answer to that is yes. With that in mind, you need to do your homework with respect to the other side and you need to understand the culture of the party you are meeting with. You need to ask a lot of questions and listen carefully to the answers. Listen for interests. Listen with an open mind and help yourself explore alternatives beyond your position and more oriented towards collaboration.
In this past week I have worked with clients in Los Angeles, Texas, Minnesota, North Dakota, St. Louis, and Boston. In each instance we have discussed neuroscience, the art of listening, and other topics. It is important to not demonizing the other side. Keep an open mind, be respectful and search for understanding. Our brains are hard wired to search out sex, food and shelter and defend against other things including ideas. Therefore, when you are proposing something to someone else the natural inclination in a relationship (our brains are 98% emotional and 2% rational) is to view it with skepticism and to be negative. Knowing this, understanding where the other party is coming from is key. This is even more critical in international or different cultural interactions. This is part of what I was sharing with those 25 executives that you can use too. The more we know about neuroscience and how the brain works, the more we canactually apply this to what we do in our lives. That is one of the reasons I now network with those in this field and I have become a student of neuroscience. I have learned we have the capacity to look for the greater good in ourselves and with others. These were some of the key points I was making with these executives last Friday that I thought you may enjoy too.
About the author
Mike Gregory is a professional speaker, an author, and a mediator. You may contact Mike directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and at (651) 633-5311. Mike has written 12 books (and co-authored two others) including his latest book, The Collaboration Effect: Overcoming Your Conflicts, and The Servant Manager, Business Valuations and the IRS, and Peaceful Resolutions that you may find helpful. [Michael Gregory, ASA, CVA, NSA, MBA, Qualified Mediator with the Minnesota Supreme Court]