Wednesday, November 14, 2012

In Victory, Magnanimity...

Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill had a saying:

In War: Resolution. 

In Defeat: Defiance. 

In Victory: Magnanimity. 

In Peace: Goodwill.

These were the tenets by which he led Britain through the Second World War.  The last two are particularly relevant to the final stage of the negotiation process and the implementation of the agreement arrived upon.  

The fact of the matter is that two parties are at the negotiation table because each needs something from the other. Throughout the course of the negotiation, compromise is the inevitable result.  The trouble, however, is that oftentimes, the path to that compromise is so fraught with ill-will and enmity that the foundation of any future dealings has been alienated before the ink has dried on the contract.

For the negotiations to have been worth the time and effort they took, care must be taken to be conciliatory and diplomatic throughout, and an excess of consideration must arise toward the opposite party, especially toward the end of the process.

As Churchill said - In Victory: Magnanimity.  

Why was this one of the Churchillian tenets?  Consider the Treaty of Versailles - He did.

I believe that I read somewhere (perhaps in William Manchester's "The Last Lion") that Churchill said that he had intrinsically understood that the great failing of the Treaty of Versailles was that the onus of blame and fiscal responsibility for the First World War was placed at the feet of the German people.  This proved, over the decades that followed, to be an overwhelming burden whose result was the destabilization of the German economy and the subsequent overthrow of its government.  

In effect, the petty recriminations entrenched into this treaty led directly to the Second Great War.

Thus, In Victory: Magnanimity.


The reason is simple: when you come out of your negotiations, you want to ensure that peace and goodwill are the result, and that the agreement you have arrived at can be implemented without being sabotaged by the course that it took to forge that consensus.

Only by taking the magnanimous course can you ensure the final tenet:

In Peace: Goodwill.

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