Het kan wél (2009)

Het kan wel! Bestuurlijk onderhandelen voor een duurzaam resultaat

Frans Evers en Lawrence Susskind

MGA of ‘Mutual Gains Approach’ (ook bekend onder andere namen zoals win-win en consensus building approach) lijkt aan aandacht te winnen in Nederland. Met name de overheid maakt bij complexe projecten steeds meer gebruik van deze aanpak. Tot nog toe was een probleem dat er weinig Nederlands toegankelijk materiaal beschikbaar was. Een simpel maar voortreffelijk boek dat een algemene basis voor het MGA-denken legt is ‘Excellent onderhandelen’ van Ury en Fisher. De MGA-aanpak heeft zijn roots in de VS, en mede-auteur van ‘Het kan wel’ Susskind heeft zelf aan de wieg ervan gestaan. Susskind staat ook bekend om zijn vuistdikke boeken die hij over MGA heeft geschreven, maar toch was pas in 2006 sprake van een doorbraak met het verschijnen van de populaire versie ‘Breaking Robert’s rules’. In Nederland zijn de ‘voormannen’ van MGA oa Frans Evers, Pieter Winsemius en Frits Philips jr. Ik kan daarom alleen maar verheugd zijn met de recente toevoeging van dit boek van ‘godfathers’ Evers en Susskind aan het Nederlandse taalgebied. Hoewel het hier volgens het voorwoord om een bewerkte Nederlanse vertaling van het eerdergenoemde boek uit 2006 gaat, doet dit geen recht aan ‘Het kan wel’. Het gaat hier om een echte Nederlandse uitgave met nieuwe teksten en andere praktijkvoorbeelden.

Mga: wat is dat?

Vanuit de bestuurlijke ivoren toren besluiten nemen en over het volk afroepen werkt niet meer. Onze maatschappij is complexer geworden, burgers zijn beter opgeleid en mondiger en weten zich beter te organiseren. Bovendien zit er veel kennis bij partijen die traditioneel niet meegenomen worden bij complexe besluitvormingstrajecten. Het blijven toepassen van oude manieren van besturen leidt daarom tot lange trajecten, veel weerstand, veel en dure rechtsgangen en halfbakken compromissen waar uiteindelijk niemand blij mee is. Traditioneel gaat het om ego’s, macht, procedures, veel spreken en weinig luisteren. De in dit boek voorgestelde mga-aanpak biedt een alternatief. Kern is het in een vroegtijdig stadium betrekken van alle belanghebbenden bij het vormgeven van oplossingen rondom bestuurlijke vraagstukken. Ervoor zorgen dat de juiste mensen met de juiste verwachtingen aan tafel zitten. Deelnemers het vertrouwen geven dat het loslaten van een defensieve houding winst kan opleveren, het opzetten van een proces dat iedereen als open en eerlijk ervaart. Verder is het gezamenlijk vergaren van de relevante feiten belangrijk, het draait erom alle relevante informatie op tafel te krijgen. In een aantal sessies worden pakketten met oplossingen gezocht die zoveel mogelijk tegemoet komen aan de belangen van de partijen en niemand fundamenteel in zijn of haar belang aantast. Dit proces van ‘consensus bouwen’ vereist een actieve instelling van de deelnemers: een ontevreden persoon heeft niet de luxe om ontevreden te zijn en in een hoekje te blijven zitten. De vraag aan deze persoon is: hoe kan het pakket veranderd worden van onacceptabel naar acceptabel, niet alleen voor jezelf maar voor iedereen in de groep?

Oordeel

Zoals gezegd, een zeer welkome aanvulling en het komt op een goed moment. Niet alleen de theoretische achtergronden van de aanpak worden netjes behandeld maar het boek wemelt ook van de praktijkcases. Sterk is dat het hier om een geheel eigen Nederlandse versie gaat met de status dat het door de uitvinders is geschreven met een stevige voet in de praktijk en realiteit van alledag.

Maar natuurlijk zijn er ook kanttekeningen te plaatsen. Het boek is naar mijn mening te weinig logisch gestructureerd. Nagenoeg alle onderwerpen worden meerdere keren in het boek behandeld en er is dus nogal eens sprake van nodeloze herhaling. Ik kan me niet aan de indruk onttrekken dat de auteurs met fiches hebben gewerkt met stukken tekst (quotes) erop. Soms komen nagenoeg dezelfde teksten twee keer in het boek voor. Het boek zou sterk aan kwaliteit en bruikbaarheid winnen als er samenvattende visuele overzichten aan zouden worden toegevoegd (normaal het kenmerk van Amerikaanse educatieve boeken!). De praktijkvoorbeelden zijn natuurlijk goed en verrijken de tekst maar hebben helaas allemaal hetzelfde karakter. Het gaat veelal om problemen rondom gebiedsinrichtingen en het zijn grootschalige en langlopende trajecten. Hierdoor dreigt uit zicht te raken dat de methodiek in beginsel veel breder toepasbaar is bijvoorbeeld in het private domein en bij kleinere vraagstukken. Tenslotte komt het mij voor dat veel lezers behoefte hebben aan positionering van MGA: waar staat deze aanpak nu in de verzameling reeds beschikbare aanpakken, waar zit het onderscheid, waar vult het aan en waar strijdt het?

Rudy van Stratum is directeur van Stratum Strategie en werkt sinds een aantal jaren voor oa de provincie Noord-Brabant met de MGA aanpak.

Uitgeverij MGMC, ISBN 978-90-78171-05-8, 2009


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