Buying Into an Opponent’s Position

Gary Gagliardi

A couple of posts ago, we covered Sun Tzu’s idea that strategic positions are largely built from perceptions. It isn’t what a strategic position IS that matters, but what people THINK that it is. We often fail because we buy into the positions of our opponents without challenging them. A good recent example of this is President’s Bush’s reaction to the Democrats accusing him of wrong-doing in firing some prosecutors for political reasons.

People don’t even realize it when they subconsciously accept opposing positions. In Bush’s case, he is assuming that he MUST deny firing prosecutors for political reasons because doing so is somehow wrong. What would have happened if he when challenged that position? He could have just admitted it: “Yes, I fired the prosecutors because they were not pursing the policies of this administration and, yes, those policies are to some degree political. People elected me partly to make sure certain laws were enforced in certain ways. If my prosecutors can’t what I ask, they have been and will be fired. This what it means to serve at the will of the president. At least I gave these particular guys a chance, which is more than the former president did when he fired all his prosecutors, including those investigating him personally.”