“Yes, we can” meets “No, I won’t”


  In this photo, it looks like the Chinese Premier has Obama right where he wants him. Obama seems to really be struggling to make his point, to justify his position. He seems so sincere, and if he were talking to his daughter, my heart just might go out to him. He seems very willing here to make a compromise, to go for a ‘win-win’.

  Obama and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao at the climate change conference in Copenhagen.

Interpretations? Captions?

This is a photo from Obama’s own Flickr site, so it presents Obama as Obama’s people want him to be seen. Obsequious? Abasing? Or steady and serious in a difficult process of persuasion?

(Above photo and italics from Ann Althouse blog.)
 
     Well Ann, I’d say he looks like a clown in this context, however serious he may feel himself to be.
     Negotiation expert Jim Camp weighs in on the dangers of win-win/compromise negotiation strategies  during an interview:
 
First – a definition of win-win:

What is win-win negotiation?

It is born of collective bargaining. It is an invention utilizing compromise and assumption as its foundation. It forces the user to craft compromise to please the other side. Very seldom will the user get the full price in a win-win negotiation. Fear of failure, loss of the deal, reduced margin of profit, even going out of business can be the byproduct of win-win negotiations.

In your negotiation training book “Start with No®” you say win-win negotiation is the worst way to do business. Why?

I can’t tell you how many times I have sat down with a team of negotiators and asked them to list the first 3 things they must do to prepare for a negotiation. In almost every case, the list included figuring out how much discount they should offer to make the other side happy. Before the negotiation even begins, they are giving up precious profit out of fear of not making the other side happy. Win-win negotiators believe they “know” what the other side is thinking and what will make them “happy.” It is sad that so much is given away for no reason.

Camp is discussing business, but the principles he teaches apply to all negotiations.  Even if you totally agree with Obama, this photo ought to disturb you. He needs to have his game face on, and he does not.   He ought to be the one  asking the questions and learning something about his respected opponent, to coin Camp’s term. What pain does China see coming out of agreements in Copenhagen? Does Obama really know?  Does he have a mission and purpose that sees and solves both that pain and other pain that China may not have considered? If  Obama saw such pain and the solutions, he’d be calmly and carefully drawing out Chinese premier out to have a look at the negotiation landscape with him, not making a sales pitch with his eyes to the floor.  

 

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One Response to ““Yes, we can” meets “No, I won’t””

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