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NBA停摆掌门人是头号罪人

Shelley DuBois 2011年11月25日

NBA停摆风波中,总裁大卫•斯特恩在与球员工会磋商期间,犯了几个经典的谈判错误。

    虽然球员和老板没有遵循解决冲突的基本条款,但在磋商期间,斯特恩犯了几个经典的谈判错误;不一定是他提出的条款有问题,而是他提出条款的方式。

    “我希望球员工会没有这样做,”斯特恩上周一在接受《体育中心》(SportsCenter)采访时如是说。他所指的,是球员们解散工会,对资方提起反垄断诉讼的决定。“他们这样做的时机不合适,说辞也近乎可笑。他们似乎铁了心地要自毁前程。我很痛心。”

    这听起来似乎是在责难球员。乔治城大学麦克多诺商学院(Georgetown's McDonough business school)兼职教授克里斯•沃斯说,认为自己一派正经的领导者往往给人一种居高临下的感觉。他说:“大卫•斯特恩说球员们会怀念支票的,但球员们显然明白这一点,所以他们会把这番言论视为威胁。”

    如果斯特恩当时表示他理解球员们对工作保障的关切,因为他明白运动员的职业生涯往往非常短暂,不仅不会被看做示弱,相反还会缓解紧张的局势。

    沃斯说,富有成效的讨论往往始于一方准确重述另一方的观点。如果一方说:“我理解你是因为某某事而不满的。”在这种情况下,另一方唯一能做出的反应就是:“是的,你说的没错。”这不过是个微小的调整,其实并没有改变所要传达讯息的内容,但这样做有助于消除讨论引发的某些负面情绪。

    沃斯曾经为联邦调查局(FBI)设计过人质谈判策略,后来创建了以谈判策略见长的商业咨询机构黑天鹅公司(Black Swan)。“我们的谈判分队经常帮助警方跟某个嫌犯谈判。警察一旦把嫌犯团团包围,往往会说,‘投降,要不然就没命了,’这样做其实只会适得其反,” 沃斯说。

    在这个节点上,卷入NBA谈判的球员和老板一旦做出让步的话,是非常难堪的。球员们甚至有可能觉得自主权受到了威胁。沃斯说:“人们往往会竭力捍卫说“不”的权利,即使这样做可能伤及自身。”老板们错误地假定,球员不会做伤害其切身利益的事情,比如采取有可能让整个赛季报销的法律行动。但许多人往往宁可拿自己的钱途冒险,也不愿意当众受辱,沃斯说。

    While both the players and the owners would flunk out of Conflict Resolution 101, Stern has made classic negotiation mistakes during discussions; not necessarily in the terms he's presenting, but in the way he's presenting them.

    "I wish the union hadn't done this," Stern told SportsCenter last Monday, regarding the players' decision to disband their union to file anti-trust lawsuits. "Their timing is not very good, and their rhetoric is almost humorous. [They] seem hell-bent on self-destruction and I think it's very sad."

    That sounds like finger-pointing. Leaders who think they're coming across as no-nonsense often come off as condescending, says Chris Voss, an adjunct professor at Georgetown's McDonough business school. "David Stern says the players are going to miss paychecks," Voss says, "but the players already know that, so they take that as a threat."

    If Stern were to say instead that he understands that players are concerned about job security during what tends to be a short career, that would start to ease tensions without coming across as capitulation.

    A productive discussion starts when one side accurately restates the other's argument, Voss says. By saying, "I understand that you are upset because of 'X,'" you put the other side in a position where the only response they can say is "yes, that's right." It's a tiny tweak, and it actually doesn't change the content of the message, but it helps quiet some of the emotional noise around a discussion.

    Voss used to handle hostage negotiations for the FBI and has since founded Black Swan, a business advisory firm that specializes in negotiations. "In the law enforcement world, we had negotiation teams talk to someone in a situation where they're surrounded by police who were basically saying, 'surrender or die,'" Voss says. "That was really counterproductive."

    At this point, both players and owners enmeshed in the NBA talks will be embarrassed if they back down. The players might even feel like their autonomy is threatened, Voss says: "People will fight really hard, at a detriment to themselves, for the right to say no." And the owners falsely assume that players won't make a decision that will hurt them financially, like taking legal action that threatens the season. But many are often wiling to risk financial suicide over public humiliation, Voss says.

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