Guidelines for Ambassador Appointments
Ambassadors to other countries are a vital part of international relations. It is not uncommon for an ambassador to be the face or image of one country to another. Ambassadors act as a window into the importance of education, security, financial situations, business, and other societal issues. An ambassador has the power and authority to create opportunities through negotiation. Just like a negotiator, an ambassador must be equipped with specific qualities to ensure success. The distinction between the two should be that in the same.
Curry's book, "International Negotiating," outlines several qualities for picking a negotiation team, or in this case, what I believe to be a good ambassador. The first and most relevant piece of advice is to not assign negotiators to a task based on a reward. This idea is simple but probably the most ignored idea in negotiation. Often, executives view an assignment that takes them or their employees overseas on a "two week vacation" - the negotiation - as a reward for being a top sales manager or some other reward. While sending your top sales manager to negotiate may not be the worst idea in the world, there are specific qualities that you want to look for when sending someone to be an ambassador for your company or country overseas. A balance in that person's skills should be apparent. If technical skills are needed versus social skills, then someone with those skills should be appointed for the task. Where as a specialist can be important, many cultures engage in trust building activities long before any real negotiations are held. Ambassadorship Strategy should involve a technically adept person with strong communication skills. This person should understand the overall implications of their relationship with the members of the other country. The "big picture" should already be developed for an ambassador so that they can blend into the culture while accomplishing the goals at hand.
For an ambassador from the U.S, several different issues would be discussed with other countries. National security, peace agreements, educational opportunities, social and health issues, and general societal issues all can go beyond the knowledge of an ambassador and far past his/her own technical knowledge. Knowing how and where to locate a specialist in each field of discussion is an important skill. Management of technical staff and administration staff is a key component to any ambassador. A streamlined approach to ambassadorship should be employed while keeping negative qualities at bay. Curry has observed several qualities as negative qualities (Curry, 10-13). Whiners can drag down and drain the emotional and physical strength of a negotiation or ambassadorship team. An effective way to deal with whiners would be to help them move towards solving the problem rather than just propagating it and not suggesting a solution. Connivers and "one-uppers" can really take cohesion away from a goal achieving team. Competition is great; if a conniving person is part of an ambassadorship team, encourage them to strive to meet the problems at hand. A manager of business would know the proper ways to motivate this type of person so that their negative quality won't hurt the team. Conditions change, and therefore flexible people would be perfect for an ambassadorship. Putting your best foot forward, while being able to succeed in all types of conditions can often prove vital in an ever-changing world. Cultural sensitivity, regarding sex, race, and creed is important. An appreciation for the culture at hand would help, while and understanding of that culture is vital.
Being an ambassador for the United States is important. The partnership as seen by other countries with the US can have lasting impressions, good and bad. A successful ambassador must possess the qualities as explained while having a deep appreciation and understanding of that culture. Only then, will the ambassador be able to achieve the task of representing the interests of the United States in a positive and progressive way.
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