Bitter or Sweet?

      This week Wall Street Reporter Siobhan Hughes wrote an article on Senator Mitch McConnell and his battle to take the teeth out of the Affordable Care Act. The article describes Senator McConnell's 'steely drive' and use of political leverage over building personal relationships.

      Doesn't that strategy fly in the face of what we have been taught? In the iconic book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, we were taught to compromise and reach, sometimes reach a long way, to find things in common with our negotiating partners.

      We were taught to come in humble, admit our mistakes, and seek our opponents' 'must haves' when we sat at the bargaining table.

      Senator McConnell does none of that. He dresses down those who disagree with him, often in his own party, in public meetings.  He wields a hatchet not a handshake. His ambition and "take no quarter" approach have gained him his position as Senator Majority Leader. But this week, Senator McConnell pushed back the August recess, keeping his peers in the capitol when they are desperate to get back to their districts and debate the Affordable Care Act.

      Benjamin Franklin was our nation's beloved patriot, inventor, and diplomat. Ben Franklin spent two decades in the 1700s employing shuttle diplomacy. The shuttle was a ship not an airliner. Among his many successes was personally courting our nation's French peers. As a result, France gave a fortune to help our Revolutionary War effort.

      Ben Franklin built personal relationships over twenty years, sailing back and forth across the Atlantic. Senator McConnell might tell us bitter is best in negotiations; Ben Franklin might disagree.

      How do you prefer to negotiate? With the carrot or the stick? Have your negotiation methods changed over time? Please share your comments.

      About Garrett

      Garrett Hennessy operates out of Albuquerque, NM as a Speaker, Lobbyist, and Fundraiser available for your organization.  Garrett speaks and consults on sales, employee retention and more. Please contact him for more information.