Lesser of 2 Evils

Published: Jul 13 , 2012
Author: Alan Smith

A mother passing by her son's bedroom was astonished to see the bed was 
nicely made, and the room clean and tidy.

Looking more closely she saw an envelope 
propped up on the pillow.

It was addressed, 'Mum'. With trepidation, she opened the envelope and read the enclosed note with trembling hands.

Dear Mum,

It is with great regret and sorrow that I'm writing to you. I have had to elope with my new girlfriend because I wanted to avoid a row with you and Dad.


I am crazy in love with Stacy, and she is so nice, but I knew 
you would not approve of her, because of all her piercings, tattoos, her tight Motorcycle clothes and because she is so much older than I am.

But it's not only the passion, Mum. She's pregnant. She owns a trailer in the woods, and has a stack of firewood for the whole winter. We share a dream of having many more children. Stacy has really opened my eyes to the fact that marijuana doesn't really hurt 
anyone. In fact we'll be growing it for ourselves, and trading it with the other people in the commune for all the cocaine and ecstasy we want. In the meantime, we'll pray that science will find a cure for AIDS, so 
that Stacy can get better. She sure deserves it!! Don't worry Mum, I'm 15 now and I know how to take care of myself. Someday, I'm sure we'll be back to visit so you can get to know your many grandchildren.
Love, 

Your son.

P.S. Mum, none of the above is true. I'm over at a friends house. I just wanted to remind you that there are worse things in life than the school
report that's on my desk. Call when it is safe for me to come home

Sometimes the negotiator needs to paint a picture of how bad things could be to point out the value of a deal. Angela Merkel may have been unhappy with the U-turn she made over the weekend. Her big concession was to allow direct aid from the Eurozone's permanent bailout fund to banks in difficulty. Something she promised she would not do.

The even worse picture of her being the instigator of a complete meltdown of the Euro threatened by the French and Italians helped her to cleverly compromise and move the process forward.

Even deals you don't like may be better than the alternative in some situations.

Alan Smith
Partner
Scotwork UK LLP


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Alan Smith

About the author:

Alan Smith
My background is marketing and advertising. After graduating in Economics I entered the agency world to become, at 28, MD of London's largest independent below-the-line marketing provider.

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Negotiators don’t necessarily derive their power from the relative size of their organisations. In fact, many negotiators fall into the trap of being scared by a seemingly “bigger” opponent on the other side and end up striking deals that belie their significance to the other side. As I have written before, these deals can be commercially ruinous. In fact, they derive their power from the incentives and sanctions that they have at their disposal. The problem that negotiators face when deploying their power, exerting their leverage as I once heard it described, is that some incentives seem relatively indivisible. They have one enormous “chunk” of a concession and then it’s over to threats and counter-threats – never a place where nice people like to be!

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