Egyptian Crisis could have been averted with some basic negotiation knowledge

About a week or so ago, I was asked by Lynda Foster of Synergy Sessions to give a workshop on negotiations. The title of the workshop was called “Profitable Communications”. That could easily have been a month long workshop but I had only 2 hours and I had to make sure the participants had some solid take-away, something they could put to use right away.

The following are a couple of points I focused on. These are basic in business and leadership communications and I believe they are applicable even in running a country:

1. Have a valid mission and purpose statement – It is critical to go into a negotiation with a mission and purpose statement. This should be in alignment with the corporate mission and purpose. If Mubarak was in touch with his people, or in this case, if he had a valid mission and purpose statement, the situation would not have descended into this state of crisis. The leaders are simply disconnected with the people…they have an invalid mission and purpose, at least not one that addresses the other party’s needs/wants. The mission and purpose of the leaders are NOT in alignment with the people’s. I would love to address the way the people went about protesting and attempting to remove Mubarak from power but it would take too long. They also have an invalid M&P and have no strategic plan – resulting in chaos! Simply removing Mubarak does not solve the real problem for them…
2. Ask for, invite and be ready to hear “No”. It is a fundamental human right. It is a matter of respect. The “No” invites the next step of dialog (contrary to what most belief, it is not the end of a negotiation, simply the beginning) which is…”Why?”There is no better way to start a fight than to remove or seemingly remove the other party’s right to say no. This includes being dismissive, shutting the other party down, being dominant etc. This is what the Egyptian government is trying to do – isolate, command and control (remove cell phone and internet services…). Whenever possible, I encourage leaders to invite and listen for “no” from their followers. It fosters dialog, displays respect and results in collaboration and coordination.

I covered many other techniques used in effective negotiations but I wanted participants to have something they could work on. Within days of that workshop, I got an email from a participant that said she was able to get what she wanted in a negotiation by employing just the few principles I taught. That was quite rewarding.

Allan Tsang
NRV Success Synergy Group

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