My lovely wife uses two phrases that I shamelessly use and claim for my own, “pick your battles,” and “agree to disagree.” Both refer to a form of conflict resolution called “Cooperative Problem Solving,” or “CPS” for short. Within this process, one would;
1. Raise the issue
2. Listen to one another’s point of view
3. Identify interests, options and possible solutions
4. Develop a plan to meet as many interests as possible
Harkening back to when we were young, we remember choosing up sides, selecting the spot to congregate and answering the all-important question of “what will we do today?” It is surprising to realize that our ability to negotiate was determined during childhood.
Children at play move through a series of components. First, the child plays alone, then near another child, then with the child without sharing, then sharing, and finally, somewhat purposeful and organized play develops. It is at this point where one observes the early stages of negotiation skills.
As I scroll back through time, I remember meeting up with several of my pals to solve the dilemma of the day. We were attempting to come to consensus on the location for the “kickball championship of the world.” Our usual playing field had been predisposed as a stage for an enormous yard sale. This resulted in much distress in the simple minds of a squad of seven-year olds. Alternate solutions were offered by many, including backyards and a field — all much too distant — and a small playground with far too many obstacles. The debate raged as each option was carefully weighed and subsequently dismissed. The choice was narrowed to one, but was it viable? Key participants noted the many shortfalls of the trees, basketball goal and the dreaded thorny rosebushes. Secretly, I wanted that yard! It was my personal favorite due to the sharp slope of the rear grassy area that played so well to my long kicks, usually resulting in victory. But, was this meant to be? One by one, the votes were cast and this yard was selected! I was so joyous to have won. My young mind never once went to the fact that I was the owner of the only working kickball and everyone knew that! I won, right?
Concession is More Then the Place to Buy Popcorn at the Movies
Concession is a part of the negotiation process least understood. It is not necessarily a bad thing, however. Negotiation is considered a process of fluidity. During the “give-and-take,” the discussion can slow considerably and eventually grind to a stop. If there is no revival, concessions may have to be made to move the process forward. Keep in mind that the use of concession is a strategy. Compare it to a poker game. You may trade a chip for a better card, but you would never give up all your chips at once or the game is suddenly over. For more on the strategy of concession, go here.
As children, we learn this strategy well. Many of us have traded toys, sports cards, action figures and so on. Rarely have we realized any enormous coup. Rather, most of these early bartering experiences might simply have provided something a little different in our “collection.” The value that was placed upon these items of great wealth was nominal, indeed! Such little importance was placed, that if a playmate decided later that the transaction was unfair, usually the belongings were simply returned and all was well.
As I recall, it really was a simpler day! We discussed, worked through our issues and hammered out solutions. There were occasional tears, anger and coarse words. Sometimes we would end in a stalemate. More often than not, we would figure it out. The good news is that we always respected each other and never forgot what was important, our friendships! We all grew up realizing one thing…………….it’s really good to have the only working kickball!
And with that, friends, I’ll leave you with this;
You’ve got to SEE positive to BE positive!
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