Well, there we have it. The first secretary this week has pronounced that lockdown continues for another 3 weeks. The media were predicting such a statement, no doubt to soften us up for the confirmation. The awful statistics continue to build and whilst there is talk of light at the end of the tunnel, no one is totally convinced it’s not another train heading our way! Businesses are struggling, families battle on indoors and our front-line care workers are at full stretch. And the pubs are still closed. A dark time indeed.
And yet, hidden amongst the misery there are some wonderful stories that lighten the mood. A 106-year-old lady in Birmingham was applauded by NHS staff as she left hospital having survived COVID-19 this week. Joe Wicks, the highly successful fitness entrepreneur and founder of The Body Coach, has captured the nation with his free daily PE lessons for children and was awarded the ‘Golden Play Award’ for achieving 1.4 million subscribers on YouTube in just 3 weeks! Almost most astonishing is Captain Tom Moore’s achievement – he set out to raise £1000 for NHS Charities Together by completing 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday later this month. At the time of writing his JustGiving page has raised over £17 million!
The big stuff, these heroic and generous achievements are what hit the headlines but spare a thought for the little people. For the community spirit, people talking to and helping their neighbours (even in London), streets being painted with rainbows, musical performances out of first floor windows, virtual drinks parties, quiz nights you name it. My daughter is learning to cook and makes her own bread every day. Family bonding time is no longer optional.
What this tells us that even in a time of, let’s face it, unprecedented conflict there is ample opportunity to be civil and, dare I say it, positively friendly. At these times the winners are the ones being creative, positive, visualising success and seemingly achieving the impossible.
Can we apply what we see unfolding during lockdown to our negotiations? Well I think we can. We know that with good preparation and some consideration for the other side’s needs and wishes, we can actually benefit from thinking beyond just our own objectives and desires. As we start to consider the things we could do for them, we start to build ‘value’ in our negotiations. Negotiation is, after all, a trading process. It will inevitably cost us something to achieve what we want. But an intelligent, creative and quite frankly less selfish approach might stimulate a reciprocated response. Which not only will enrich the deal in question but set a precedent for better behaviour in the future and strengthen the relationship.
I wonder if we are going to emerge into a new and better world at the end of this crisis. New opportunities will present themselves no doubt. There will be a lot of counting the cost. But there will also be reflection of the innovation that was forced upon us to cope. The world is getting much more comfortable with operating virtually. We might even be better cooks. NHS workers might even get a pay rise and Captain Tom might get knighted.
Let’s hope we’re nicer and more generous to each other too. It’s the smart thing to do.