The Monetary and Non-monetary Value of Cooperation

The Monetary and Non-Monetary Value of Cooperation

I remember doing a mock negotiation for a Strategy and Negotiation class I took in the Netherlands.  It was between a teacher’s union and the Board of Education and I, contrary to all my preferences and upbringing, was put on the side of the Board of Ed.  I ended up being the chief negotiator and it was my strategy that we used to handle the negotiations.

We started off from the premise that we wanted to compensate and work with our teachers (who were, for all intents and purposes, our employees) rather than try to work against them.  The result was that both sides were able to get basically what we wanted.  The only sticking point was that I was trying to have the numbers be run first before we promise them a raise total, while they wanted the raise total up front.  By being basically honest, and dogged to the amount of spending that was given to us by the Town Council while trying to give our workers as much as we could have given them within those bounds proved, I think, to have been significantly more fruitful than if we were competing with each other.  It was about getting to the core of what the other NEEDS, rather than just what they say that they WANT, and then going from there, accomodating them where we could, and rejecting them diplomatically where we could not.

Competition is sometimes a great way to find the best possible solution to design problems, specifically.  It is through the threshing out of garbage from value that you get designs which work.  However, if you’re working towards solving common problems, or if you’re working with other people on a more social, less combative level, collaboration has to be at the root of your endeavors, otherwise, the whole thing will fall apart as you tear the issues apart and/or ruin the relationships that have to be maintained for good function. 

In business, it is the relationship and the functionality of the whole economy that’s at stake, as opposed to the well being of just the individual business on one end of the negotiating table.  Without these relationships, business cannot function, especially not within the context of our evolving and dynamic economy.  Therefore, one should ask the question “what is the price for good relations?” when entering into business negotiations with the other on either side of the issue. 

In government, the relationship on any side of any issue is, perhaps, more valuable because that “other” in the negotiating room is most likely going to represent a majority of their constituents and, therefore, be representaive of a certain amount of the population in the country/society in question.  The government is simply the joining aspect of all parts in a society and a key interlocatur between other societies.  Without having all of these parts working together to solve common problems, there will be societal dysfunction for everyone.

And it’s partially thanks to the highly competitive brain types that this kind of stuff happens in the first place.

Combative.

Chimpish.

And a poor perception of actual self-interest.

Think about it.

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