Indeed, I’ve always said that students of negotiation need to study psychology, but they also need to spend time watching kids play in the sandbox. Perhaps even watch movies and documentaries on chimpanzees and other primates as they play for their pecking order to decide which is the dominant alpha male. Why you ask? Because human nature is exactly that, these are the inherent characteristics of the species, and if you wish to negotiate with anyone, you need to understand where they’re coming from along with their mindset, and how they think.
You may surmise that I am reducing humans down to the very basics, and the demeaning them in a horrible way, but I’m not, what I’m saying to you is many things don’t change, and if you will consider this from an intellectual philosophical perspective, you will do better in negotiation. Let’s go ahead and do a case study, and let’s talk about North Korea and the six party talks to get them to stop their nuclear weapons programs. If you understand both nature and nurture, then perhaps you will understand what’s going on right now.
There was a troubling article in SpaceWar recently titled; ” North Korea rocket launch plan sparks US threat,” by Staff Writers in Seoul, South Korea, (AFP) March 16, 2012. The article stated; “North Korea announced Friday it would launch a rocket carrying a satellite next month, sparking widespread condemnation and US threats that it could put much-needed food aid in jeopardy. The US, Japan and South Korea said the plan, announced just 16 days after Pyongyang agreed to suspend long-range missile tests in return for the US food aid, would breach a UN ban imposed after previous launches.”
North Korea claims the missile was launched because they were sending up a Space Communication Satellite which they say they have the right to do, surely, okay, I get that, but it’s just too coincidental and the timing of all this or that they didn’t bother to tell everyone they were going to do it, some folks knew, but it came as a shock to all the rest of us. So, why are they playing games? Well, they have historically done this every time just prior to negotiations, it’s their way of showing strength and seriousness leading into the talks.
Like father like son I say? And I hope our negotiators will learn this time around, but for some reason I doubt they will, and I was rather shocked that we were going to give food a merely for North Korea saying that they were going to stop their nuclear weapons program, and allow inspections. That’s what they always say, and that’s what Iran is saying right now, and they believe this tactic allows them to bide their time until we have a new president, new leadership, and the game starts all over again.
Past behavior is a good indication and way to predict future events, and various moves and psychological tactics of your negotiating opponent. Indeed I hope you will please consider all this, study this negotiation in more depth, and I think in the end you will become a better negotiator overall. Think on it.