Is the End Near for the NBA Lockout?

17 Nov

The National Basketball Association (NBA) cancelled the first month of games for the 2011-2012 season. Negotiations are not improving the outlook for a deal. As a fan, I am disappointed that issues of salary and parity within the league cannot be settled. Even though these issues are controversial and demand compromise, by not using effective business communication, they are limiting the possibility of successful negotiations.

Negative Campaigning

Both players and owners are trying use the media, rather than the bargaining table, to voice their opinions. The communication so far, has been detrimental to the nature and success of the private negotiations. The head of the players’ union, Derek Fisher, should be directing the players as to how to speak to the media in a manner that doesn’t detract from negotiations. Furthermore, leaders of the team owners need to teach owners on how to address the situation. The players’ union and the team owners continuously bash each other through newscasts and social media outlets. The players and the team owners are trying to use the media to plead their case to the fans in an attempt to gain their support, but the fans do not have a seat at the negotiation table. Both sides need to forget about explaining how ridiculous the demands are of the opposition, and just focus on rectifying the situation so that the season can commence as soon as possible.

Reaching a Solution

While this situation may seem to be a basketball related one, at its core, it is a textbook case in poor direct communication and micro-messaging. Aggravated parties can use the following steps to hold successful negotiations:

  1. Establish a small team to lead negotiations that accurately represents the entire group
  2. Develop a civil and productive atmosphere with a respected third-party mediator
  3. Understand that negotiation is about compromise
  4. Maintain unity among the base and remain positive

If the owners and players adhered to these principles, instead of watching the news on the lockout, I could be watching highlights from last night’s game. One might think that communication and micro-messages are not only things in textbooks, but they are part of everyone’s interactions with others

by Bryan Gonnella


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