You may want negotiating power in order to have more cash in your pocket or to make your small business more successful. You may want more negotiating power so you can have a good night sleep and more peace of mind at home. If you keep this one secret in mind, you’ll have a huge leg up on your negotiating power skills.
Are you ready? Here it is.
Don’t put anyone or anything up on a pedestal.
I know this because I failed to keep it in mind recently and made a huge mistake that wasted a lot of time and energy. I want to avoid doing this again, and I don’t want you to fall into this pit like I did.
I’ve been working on a business deal for the last several years that ended (badly) this morning. Looking back, I know I planted the seeds that led to this poor outcome.
I have been collaborating with a very talented person over the last several years on a certain project. (I am going to be vague on purpose…forgive me.) I had the original entrepreneurial ideas and this other person had the skills I lacked. It looked like a perfect match.
In fact, I was a little amazed that this person agreed to join me on the endeavor because he is a nationally recognized figure and extremely gifted. This is where the problem started. You see, I subconsciously carried the wrong attitude. I told myself that he was doing me a favor and that I was really lucky to have him on board.
While I was certainly fortunate to him as a partner, I was dead wrong about him doing me any favors. He was doing himself a favor – at least, he must have thought so. He was acting in his own self-interest – and rightly so. That’s the way partners should go about setting up small business enterprises. Am I right?
But because I held this person in such high regard, I belittled myself a little. Slowly the project became about what he needed rather than what I wanted out of it. This happened very slowly over many many months…but it happened.
I can’t blame him. I put my partner up on a pedestal. I wanted to make him happy, so I compromised time and time again. I shouldn’t have done that…but I did. While it was happening, I didn’t say anything.
Because I didn’t even realize I was angry. Can you believe that? Does that ever happen to you?
We received an offer to partner with another firm to bring the product to market. I wanted to accept the offer because the firm was a perfect match for the project. They had the distribution we needed to make the product a success.
My partner wanted to play hardball and ask for the sun and the moon. Maybe he was right…maybe we should have bargained, but it wasn’t about the money anymore.
He told me that the success or failure of the project was more important for him than for me. He shrugged my needs off. I felt invisible. At that point, I lost it.
Without wasting time thinking about it or consulting with anyone, I fired him. I just couldn’t stand it anymore. It wasn’t pretty. I’m really pleased with the end result because the project will continue without his interference. But I handled it poorly.
There are many lessons I should learn from this experience, but by far the most important is not to put people on a pedestal. First, it’s a lie. Even though other people may have skills you don’t possess, they are in business with you because they want something from you – not because they are doing you a favor.
Everyone is replaceable. You don’t need anyone so much that you have to lose yourself. And, as my buddy Danny told me, no project in the world is worth losing yourself for.
When you give someone too much power, you tend not to stand up for yourself. At least, that was my experience. When I lost it with my ex-partner, I think I lost it with myself too. I was angry that a grown man, a successful business person, could make such an error. I don’t know if you’ve ever had a similar experience but I’d love to hear about it and how you handled it.
Before I forget again…
Here are some nice links for the weekend. Check out these festivals: