In the summer of 2015, former U.S. senator, majority leader and leader of the Irish peace talks, the Honorable George J. Mitchell, published a memoir of some lesser known “war stories” from his illustrious career. His childhood is interesting and moving to read about, and clearly he is a gifted man with an outstanding work ethic that began at home.
In the final chapters, he lists some negotiation lessons he learned and applied to achieve the deals he did. His top two are good listening and patience. He also speaks of humility, an ability to take risks, and the role of chance and knowing when to seize it.
Would it surprise anyone to hear him acknowledge that good listening is very hard to learn to do? As he quotes from his role model and mentor, Sen. (and later Secretary of State) Ed Muskie, we all too easily love the sound of our own voices.