|Training for Elected Leadership - The Councillor as Negotiator (HABITAT, 1994, 21 p.)|
|Part I: Essay - The Councillor as Negotiator|
When researching the literature for an essay of this kind, we sometimes run across information that is too good not to share with our potential audience. So it was when we discovered Barthelemy de Felice, a physics professor born in 1723 in Rome, who managed to write a 13-volume treatise on the art of negotiating. It was published at the same time as his 5 8-volume work, the Dictionnaire Universel Raisonne Des Connaissances Humaines, was offered to the public. Many of de Felice's theories were innovative for his time, including the notion that good negotiators could be trained as well as born into the art. He described a wide range of situations in which the negotiator can use his or her skills.
Negotiation is not limited to international affairs. It takes place everywhere where there are differences to conciliate, interests to placate, men to persuade, and purposes to accomplish. All life could be regarded as a continual negotiation. We always need to win friends, overcome enemies, correct unfortunate impressions, convince others of our views, and use all appropriate means to further our projects. There are some private matters which, by the confrontations of passion, the friction of characters, and the difference in the parties' way of thinking, become so embroiled that their successful resolution requires just as much art and skill as a treaty of peace between the greatest of powers.1
Contemporary sounding ideas, aren't they? De Felice also had some encouraging words for the not-so-powerful of his day. They are encouraging to those of us who have few if any formal power sources at our disposal.
Some powers, with very mediocre forces, win support and rid themselves of the most troublesome difficulties. They owe their success to their prudence, to their care in accommodating themselves to conditions around them, to their sharp grasp of occasions favourable to their interests, and to a wise observation of the maxim that it is always best to submit to negotiations those things that one cannot contest by arms.2