Bill Ury is a nice guy. He thinks that one can talk one’s way through conflict.
Bill’s argument is hopeful. And I would agree that one must always be open to the possibility of resolving conflict by talk. At the same time, we know that this is not always possible. In certain situations, we know that one must stand up for one’s values.
At the more trite level, this is what famous basketball coach Pat Riley meant when he said that having an enemy motivates. Having an enemy, especially a powerful one, forces us to stand up to that enemy – to focus. And as a strategic matter, it is always worth asking whether we have chosen to compete against the best in the world in what we do. If not, we may be selling ourselves short.
There is a lot to say about this “standing up” and you will see it here in this blog. At the same time, Bill’s idea goes beyond just how we communicate with others. When we stand up for someone or something, we need to look beyond the immediate conflict. We need to believe that whatever we are doing will create a beautiful future. One that we would love our children to enjoy.