Looks like the Super Committee didn’t turn out to be so “super.”
They blew the US credit rating because of both sides of Congress’ unwillingness:
- to meet with an open mind
- to listen with an open mind
- to realise they are not listening
- to consider what the other side is saying
- to cooperate with something they may disagree with
- to collaborate with others to make the agreement a success
- to compromise and let go of certain positions in service of reaching an agreement
- to commit to a compromise by putting in the same effort as they would have if they had gotten their way
- to keep their commitment by dealing with derailers from within their party or constituency
- to maintain their commitment as a top priority that they will give equal weight to as running for reelection
The checklist can also be used as a Congressional Cooperation Tool. To use it that way:
Step 1: Rate the way you perceive your opponents on the above criteria on the basis of: 1 = unwilling; 2 = willing; 3 = open.
Step 2: Score your opponent as follows:
10 – 16 = Unwilling, oppositional, recalcitrant, unyielding, quick to be defensive, quick to take offensive
17 – 24 = Willing to listen, may not be as aggressive or defensive, but as soon as hears some “buzz/partisan speak” will did heels in the ground an resist being influenced
25 – 30 = Open and desiring to cooperate in the service of the greater good of the American people, keeps focus on a solution, doesn’t allow the perfect to be the enemy of the good, accepting of not getting much of what wants as long as getting what needs
Step 3: After scoring your opponent that way, assess your corresponding unwillingness, willingness and openness to cooperating with them
Step 4: To the extent that you see yourself as merely reacting to them, what if there is the possibility that they are doing exactly the same in response to their perception of you?
Step 5: Share how you perceive your opponent with them and give your reasons for perceiving them that way.
Step 6: Ask them to share the same with you.
Step 7: If it appears that you are both being defensive vs. solution oriented ask your opponent what you would need to do differently so that they would be willing to cooperate with you.
Step 8: Share with them what they would need to differently in order for you to cooperate with them.
The key to overcoming the above is in the words of psychoanalyst Wilfred Bion (1897-1979) to have both sides of Congress “listen without memory or desire.” By that, Bion meant that when you listen with memory, you have an old agenda that you are trying to plug the other side into and when you listen with desire you have a new agenda that you are trying to plug the other side into. But in neither case are you listening to or considering the other side’s agenda.
To avert this, become a PAL which means to listen with “Purposeful Agendaless Listening.” And the purpose? To be of service to all Americans and to manage the expectations and demands of your constituencies so they realise that united we stand or even survive, divided we most surely will fall and fail.
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