How to Keep the Passion

November 3, 2014

Professional Self Management in Long-Term Conflict Situations


What do international negotiators need to stay passionate about their work? The four most frequent driving factors to maintaining passion in the negotiation environment, which were cited by the professional negotiators interviewed, are:


Results – being able to make a difference and reach goals

“I need to feel that I am getting results, I am not patient.”


Meaning – being part of an important situation/team/working process

“Starting a job only means a source of income. You need to find a meaning; the fact that I work for the government, for my country.”


Challenges – rising to meet new situations

“I need the daily challenges, the fresh new assignments and multidimensional work load to keep passion in work.”


Human dimension – being part of team and being able to discuss directly with the other side

“I need the reaction of others: In the team, other people are relying on me.”



The Background

This is an excerpt from a study conducted for the Israeli Palestinian Negotiator Program, which was initiated by the Vienna School of Negotiation (back then Vienna Conflict Management Partners) in order to learn more about the ways in which international negotiators cope with their work-life balance and long-term stress, when facing high professional as well as personal demands.


The persons interviewed were professional Israelis and Palestinians from diverse political and business backgrounds, who have been involved in professional negotiations in the Middle East Peace Process.


We wanted to know what kind of self-management techniques and professional practices are used to support a body-mind balance in these long-lasting conflict situations and therefore foster better negotiation results. Besides the more general concept of stress, we focused on how negotiating professionals, as individuals, experience and deal with deep emotions.

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