Republican Members of Congress Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and Tim Burchett (R-TN) were two of the eight Republican Members of Congress who ousted House Speaker Kevin McCarthy last week. One of their chief stated complaints, if not the primary one, was their inability to believe McCarthy would follow through on his commitments. In a word – trust.
Now I was not in the room where it happened a number of months ago, when Speaker McCarthy made a bunch of promises to get elected Speaker (on the 15th vote). But he has been widely reported to have made some major commitments he did not fulfill.
This is a huge problem in situations involving ongoing negotiations between parties, as is the case in the U.S. Congress.
Here, the trust factor was also intertwined with the leverage McCarthy gave away to Gaetz and others when he agreed to change the rules so that any one Republican Member could call for his removal. By doing this, McCarthy made today’s situation entirely predictable. It was only a matter of when, not if.
Of course, I suspect McCarthy might suggest that he would never have gotten the votes to be Speaker had he not made this significant concession. He may be right.
But by doing so, and then reneging on his promises, he effectively drank the poison he himself made to get elected Speaker.
Latz’s Lesson: Former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy gave his counterparts strong leverage and then lost their trust. This is a fatal combination in all negotiations – and that’s why he’s now the former Speaker.
* Marty Latz is the founder of Latz Negotiation, a national negotiation training and consulting company that helps individuals and organizations achieve better results with best practices based on the experts’ research. He can be reached at 480.951.3222 or Marty@LatzNegotiation.com.