Negotiation: What President Trump’s wall can teach us

Photograph: DeAgostini/Getty Images

Some have called President Trump’s proposed border wall, ‘A fifth century solution to a 21st century problem’. (See for example an Irish Times article here.)

Whatever your take, it is clear that negotiations for effective border security have become secondary to the entrenched, ‘I demand my wall’ and ‘I’m damned if I’ll give you your wall’ positions.

When it’s all about our position and what we want, negotiation deadlocks and backing down is costly.

The real question is, ‘What matters for each of us, and how can we get there?’

In the American case, the cynic would say both sides just want to be re-elected. But let us assume that both parties want effective border security. To continue shouting ‘Wall!’, ‘No wall!’ at each other achieves nothing.

Effective negotiators step back from their positions and engage with the other party on other ways to achieve the results they both want.

This isn’t about compromise. It’s about both parties getting what they want, even if it looks different from either party’s expectations.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.

Contact Simply Communicate for an interactive workshop on negotiation for your team.

Ian Webster

From Methodist minister to Customer Relations manager in a computer bureau to HR Manager in a newspaper printing and publishing company. Now focussing on training and developing people, people-management consulting and writing and editing.

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