Choose Civility Sponsors Conflict Resolution Program

This from the Baltimore Sun:
The Howard County Library and 40 community partners in the "Choose Civility" initiative - an effort to make the county a national model of respect, consideration, empathy and tolerance - will sponsor a program on self-interest and societal interests, "Why Looking Out for Number One Doesn't Work."

The seminar, which teaches conflict-resolution techniques, will be at 7 p.m. Oct. 20 at the Central Library, 10375 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia. Candace A. Olds of Howard Community College's Conflict Resolution Center will speak.
I have nothing against a good negotiation. In fact, in graduate school, I took multiple conflict resolution and negotiation classes as part of my degree program. I found them fascinating. So, I am actually going to give kudos to the Choose Civility people for doing something clever with their initiative.

But, the title of the seminar is all wrong. Negotiation theory today really dissuades people from using the zero-sum game concept - meaning that there has to be a winner and a loser. The title is implying that looking out for yourself doesn't work. In fact, that's not true at all. Looking out for yourself does work in negotiation and dispute resolution when you also attempt to look out for the interests of others involved, where compatible.

The reality is that you should look out for you. Your interests matter. The will of the majority is not always right. Other should be respected and their experiences, opinions, etc, considered, but that doesn't mean that looking out for you should be thrown out the window. Each individual has a right to weigh in - even if incorrectly. There are absolutes sometimes.

2 comments:

Freemarket said...

I agree 100%. The title of this seminar implies that looking out for yourself is a zero sum strategy. In reality, that just ain't so.

wordbones said...

I also concur. Self preservation is a powerful motivator. It's all about me!

-wb