Essay On Gordian Knots
In ancient Macedonia, there lived a poor man who through a series of events became the king (Gordiansolutions.com). He placed his wagon in a shrine and secured it with an intricate knot that appeared to have neither beginning nor end. The shrine became quite the tourist attraction and it was considered bad luck not to try to untie the knot. However, the only person ever to successfully do so was Alexander the Great who later described the feat as the most decisive victory in his career.
The myth of the Gordian Knot has come to symbolize a problem without an easy solution. In business, it represents problems so difficult they may have no solution. Herein enters the skill of negotiation. It is always best for stakeholders to leave a negotiation with the “win-win-win” scenario, but many times at least one party feels they had to compromise more than they wanted. The Gordian Knot concept is an attempt to keep the results to a point where all parties concerned are satisfied with the results of the negotiation.
The negotiation may be defined as " . . . including all cases in which two or more parties are communicating, each for the purpose of influencing the other's decision" (Negotiationsworkshops.com). In (textbook), the author addresses the skills necessary for a scientist to become a master at negotiation. Every aspect of collaboration on research has to potential to create conflict among the scientists involved. If one researcher cedes a point, it may cause problems on future projects when others see him as easy to intimidate. If he pushes until he gets his way, resentment can also cause issues with future partnerships. Either consequence is undesirable for efficiency on the team.
The concept of “principled negotiation” is related to an approach to negotiation that is interest based (Colorado.edu). The process involves four components: an insistence on criteria being objective, keeping the problem apart from the people involved, maintaining focus on the interests involved and not the positions, and creating opportunities for mutual benefit.
The primary skill in negotiations, particularly in the arbitrator, is the ability to listen. He listens not only to what is being said, but to what is not being said. Many times, people in a negotiation don’t realize either what they actually want or how their desires fit into the overall success of the project. In fact, a discussion that becomes a negotiation is an opportunity to open doors to mutual understanding on the part of everyone. By opening defining terms, goals, and processes, the resulting clear communication frequently smoothes the road in reaching a decision.
Keep in mind that a negotiation is not a debate. There should not be a “winner” in this type of discussion. The purpose is to bring everyone on board in enthusiastic agreement because the facts were convincing enough to create a unified front. A good starting point is to “frame” the negotiation. Venter (2004) proposes that framing allows the people in the discussion to place themselves in a relationship with the topic. Focusing on the issue rather than outside influences presents a distortion of the conversation and through that viewpoint constrains the information through containment.
The chapter “Gordian Knots: Solve the Toughest Problems Through Negotiation” is an excellent overview of the necessary skills needed and the importance of effective communication for scientists.
Colorado.edu. 'Principled Negotiation'. N.p., 1998. Web. 7 Feb. 2015.Gordiansolutions.com. 'History Of The Gordian Knot'. N.p., 2015. Web. 7 Feb. 2015.
Negotiationsworkshops.com. 'Negotiations Training: 4 Critical Elements Of Negotiations'. N.p.,
2015. Web. 7 Feb. 2015.
Venter, David. '"Framing - An Important Negotiation Tool" By Dr. David Venter.'.
Negotiatormagazine.com. N.p., 2004. Web. 7 Feb. 2015.
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