(Note: This transcript has been edited for readability.)
So, oftentimes you enter into the negotiation with your perspective, your goals, obviously. But also, not understanding how they will perceive things has cost me years, you know? So you go to negotiate an agreement with a government, and of course, as a typical military person, especially as a marine, you’re pressing. You’re pressing, you’re pressing. In this case, the Japanese are agreeing, and they’re nodding, but at the end they just say, “We will have discussions on this.” Well, that’s their code for, “Sorry.” So you have limited opportunities to do this. So you have to be successful or at least gain something in each of these times. Oftentimes in these negotiations, I’ve punted it and had to go back to the beginning, and again, it’s now years. You know, yesterday, someone asked the general, why did it take him seven years to get something done? Because we make mistakes! Because we don’t understand the parties that we’re dealing with.
A culture expert discusses the difficulty of intercultural negotiations.