An episode in a 2nd division club cricket match last weekend (4 August 2018) has attracted a lot of media comment lately. The match was nearly over as the Minehead team needed just two runs to win, with lots of time left. And batsman Jay Darrell was on 98 not out and looking forward to hitting the winning runs and thereby making his first ever century. At which point the bowler, who had best remain nameless, deliberately incurred a penalty worth five runs, so ending the match and depriving Jay of his moment. Cue outrage that this wasn't the spirit of cricket, and now the culprit has been banned for nine matches.
Contrast this with an incident in this week's Little League World Series Regional (for Brits, that means kids' baseball) where Massachusetts' Evan Blake hit a home run and, as he rounded the bases, received high-fives from his Rhode Island opponents, and even their pitcher even came out offering a high-five to say, "Yeah, that was pretty cool."
In CEDR's Mediator Skills Training programme we regularly run an exercise that focusses on building trust, even amongst negotiation opponents, and it's surprising how many people focus only on the short-term gain, just as it's surprising how many people are genuinely upset when they feel their trust has been abused.
It's a big mistake for a negotiator to make, as your goal needs to be to develop a reputation that will make others want to negotiate with you, not just now but maybe again in the future. It's OK to play hard, but if you don't play by the rules, written or not, you are seriously hampering your chances of success. It's more than ethics; it's about relationships - which is why we call it good sportsmanship to congratulate an opponent when they do something well.
CEDR offers a wide range of tailored packages that include our flagship Advanced Negotiation Course or our new modular programme in 'Skills for Life' - master active listening, managing emotion, how to have that difficult conversation and be an agent of influence. To learn more, contact the CEDR Skills team at email@example.com.
Sometimes, even in the thick of the competition of a Little League World Series Regional, credit must be given where it is due.