Losing to Win

We were on the verge of buying out our partners. Things had gone sour between us so we wanted to get their shares and go in another direction. The final meeting at their lawyer’s office saw us haggling over a last couple of minor points. Evidently one of them felt he was still owed $4,000. I told him there was no way he was getting it.

My lawyer asked to see me outside the room. He gave me some wise advice: “Pay him the fucking money and let’s get out of here.” I did, and we did. We left with the signed documents making us sole owners of our business. We got what we wanted.

Later over a celebratory dinner I asked our host, and business mentor, what was the best advice he could give us “Don’t care what the other side gets”.

I didn’t want to give my now ex-partner what he asked for because I didn’t believe he deserved it. Yet, that meant letting a few thousand dollars stand in the way of the real prize, which was the company. I had lost sight of the real goal – clouded by ego and my chosen principle.

In any deal, or decision, it’s really important to keep in mind what it is you really want – even if it means ‘they’ get what they want, or more. It’s not the same as win-win. I am only really considering the other side in relationship to what I need to do, offer, give up, change, in order to come away with my desired outcome.

It means giving up any sense of having to beat my opponent. So what if they get their way or are unjustifiably compensated. It doesn’t matter. I may, in fact, have to ‘lose’, in order to win.

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