We all function through thinking processes we develop from early childhood. These “mindsets” determine how we react, how we analyze, how we plan and how we make decisions.
Professionally speaking, we negotiate with our “business” or external mindset, as opposed to our “personal values” mindset.
Our business mindset starts to develop independently when we are first exposed to institutional behavior in daycare or school.
Those infamous words “But my teacher says…” are a good example of a young mind trying to reconcile differences between the world at home and the external world.
The more experience we gain, the stronger our external skills become. We continually develop those skills to meet our needs.
Our external mindset uses skills we learned to best cope – particularly at work. Whom do we trust? How do we best approach the boss with a particular problem? How do we convince co-workers that our idea is right?
But our business mindset often isn’t enough. What do we do when we aren’t successfully making our points and people aren’t accepting our ideas?
When sufficiently challenged, we fall back to our defense mechanisms. These defense mechanisms reflect our ‘personal’ mindset…our values, beliefs and our instincts.
We see ourselves as conveying the more fundamental arguments of common sense, or of right and wrong.
However others may see us as no longer being objective. They may perceive us to be interjecting emotions or subjectivity. In turn, we view their counter-arguments as now becoming personal.
The better we understand how we might be seen by others, the better we can control our message and improve its effectiveness.
An understanding of our similar and differing goals, as well as shared or differing values, helps us move more easily through each stage of negotiation.
Problems cannot be resolved at the same level that they were created.
Similarly, we can’t solve those problems at the same level we were at when we created them.
Reprinted from The Texas Mediator, Volume 18, Number 2, Summer 2003 A publication of the Texas Association of Mediators www.txmediator.org If confidentially is the heart of mediation, self-determination is its...By Judith Cohen
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