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Over the years just about every American has had drilled into their heads the "joy of victory and the agony of defeat" as a measurement of their life.  We are thought that winning is everything and to the victor goes the spoils.  But is this the best outcome?  

I was a negotiator for a part of my life, where I was put into daily situations where outcome was everything.  It was stressful work and many wouldn't want to do it.  Then I one year I was encouraged to take a course in Negotiating Strategy that was put on by the Harvard University Business School.  I was fortunate in my career to work for a company that allowed all of it's professionals in good standing to take one annual learning experience outside the company.  I chose this particular one.  

The teaching of the course was that winning wasn't everything.  Of course, the old lesson is that some victories are Pyrrhic, where the outcome is worst because you won.  There are three possible outcomes to every negotiations:  Win-Lose, Lose-Lose and Win-Win. Our American culture is based primarily on the win-lose model.  It is especially true in sports and politics.  Nobody ever won the trophy or a seat in the Senate because they lost with class.  

So here we are facing what is being called a "fiscal cliff."  Two parties in Washington have to agree to compromise on what the country is going to do to avoid some dire financial consequences.  And yet both parties are looking for a win-lose solution.  Who is going to get blamed if it happens?  How will this effect the next election?  Etc.  This is win-lose thinking that gets nothing accomplished.  A curse on both their houses.  

Sometimes I don't like living in a win-lose world.    










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Comment by Mandy Muffin on December 10, 2012 at 1:45am

Unfortunately, it seems that the two pro teams that I follow -- The Cincinnati Bengals and the Tampa Bay Bucs -- each read my blog yesterday and lost on the last play of the game.  I should have made the caveat that winning is everything in pro sports, as that is the whole point of playing. 

Comment by Mandy Muffin on December 9, 2012 at 9:35am

I would think that the country is best served by doing two things:

--Collecting 100% of the monies that are due, no matter what the tax system is.  Currently, about 15% of tax revenues are not collected due to fraud, inefficiency and overly complex tax laws. 

--The government operating on as efficient a basis as possible to achieve all the tasks that have been legislated.  The tax payers deserve to have their tax monies well spent, not wasted away.

Comment by EddieDingo on December 9, 2012 at 8:26am

Competition is only healthy when it produces a positive outcome.  As far as our fiscal cliff...looks like we may take the plunge.  If we're positive, we'll pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and start again.

Comment by MGDJ on December 9, 2012 at 7:31am

The problem with win-win in Washington is that the victories should not go to the individual parties.  Wins in Washington should go to the people.  The parties in Washington represent the collective interests of the people of the United States.  The only win for the American people comes from lower taxation and less spending by the Government.

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