Negotiating in Army Aviation is rare. It is hard for me to even think when a negotiation took place at my workplace. In Army Aviation everything is cut in stone. We have rules to follow and we cannot go away from the norm. With that said, the only time I had to negotiate at work was with my lead pilot. We discussed the use of water buckets and the training I wanted to do with them.
A water bucket is used to help put out fires. They can be as small as 60 gallons in capacity all the way up to 2000-gallon capacity, which is what we use for our Chinook helicopters. The style of bucket we use is a hard fiberglass, bottom opening water bucket. Because of the type of bucket we use we try not to use them excessively. When we train with the bucket they sometimes will get dragged through the trees and or get set on the ground too hard and this will crack or break the fiberglass bucket.
All though, we do need to train with the buckets to maintain proficiency
The wear and tear of the buckets is why we negotiated the training we needed to accomplish. My argument was we still had to train with the buckets even though they had the potential to be damaged. My pilot made the statement that in his career he only used the water bucket five times to put out fires. He stated there was no need for any training. I did not feel the same way he did. I thought there was a need for training so my crewmembers would feel comfortable with the bucket when a need for it came up. We continued to negotiate back and forth with his argument that there was no need and my argument, we need to train to feel comfortable when we have to use it.
For the style of negotiating we used, I would have to say it was more on the compromise side than any other style. We went back and forth talking as of why we should or should not do the training. We did understand what the other person was thinking or concerned about. We also did focus on the task issues trying to make things work for both sides. I say it was a compromise situation because I wanted more training and I did not get all the issues I was trying to achieve. My pilot did not get his way but in the end he says he was able to get more training for his pilots.
I did not intend to use a compromise approach to the situation nor did I intend for the situation to happen at all. The situation started when we were talking about miss management in the unit. I then brought up that we needed to do more training on our mission equipment. My lead pilot took offence to this statement and asked what I was referring to. I named a few things but the one that was stuck in his mind was the water bucket. As I said before he did not think it was necessary to do the training.
Looking back at the situation now I see it was a good topic to bring up. We both had thought we were doing the necessary training for both crewmembers and pilots but soon found out we needed to do a little more. At first the topic turned into a slight argument but later on turned into a discussion that we both could agree upon. We did recognize what the other person was looking for and in the end we did get this accomplished.