Consider the words of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, delivered at the unveiling of Thomas Jefferson’s sculpture on Mount Rushmore in 1936:
I think we can wonder whether our descendants, because I think they’ll still be here, what they will think about us; and let us hope that they will at least give us the benefit of the doubt, that they will believe that we have honestly striven in our day and generation to preserve for our descendants a decent land to live in and a decent form of government to operate under.
Bear in mind when these words were spoken; the world was just recovering from the great depression; Nazism was on the rise in Germany; the second world war was three years away.
Fortunately, those of us lucky enough either to survive those horrors or to have been born afterwards, have lived through the next sixty years of relative prosperity and inclusiveness, in the west at least. The Common Market became the EU. Countries, formerly at loggerheads, were joined together in a great experiment of hope and aspiration. Communism as a political system had seen its day and dictatorships, though still there for all to see and scorn in far-off places, seemed to have had their day in civilised society. In 2010, all looked well and inclusive in our world, though I will hastily grant you – not everywhere.
How quickly things change.
Let’s take the last example and gauge world reaction. Predictably, President Putin sent warm congratulations, as did a number of Islamic leaders including Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
All of a sudden, it’s a case of “stop the bus; I want to get off”!
So, what does the negotiator do in these circumstances? Here are a few thoughts.
We live in interesting and, dare I say it, worrying times.
About the author:
I come from a sales background, firstly selling brands like Del Monte, Campbell’s and Nabisco to the grocery trade, then working in the hotel business, selling and marketing top-end brands like Gleneagles Hotel and the St Andrews Old Course Hotel to an international market.