“There is a set of advantages that have to do with material resources, and there is a set that have to do with the absence of material resources – and the reason underdogs win as often as they do is that the latter is sometimes every bit the equal of the former.”
– Malcolm Gladwell
Listen up: this is important. David defeated Goliath in the same way you can prevail – or at least level the playing field – in your workplace negotiations: by understanding in both your mind and in your gut “Al Sklover’s First Rule of Negotiations: The more you got, the more you got to lose.”
I remember it well: I received a call from a Senior Partner of a large law firm who was, without question, trying to intimidate me in our negotiations. He kept on mentioning his “millions of dollars” of yearly income, and the “hundreds of lawyers in his firm who would keep me and my client busy for the rest of your lives.”
I urged him, unsuccessfully, to refrain from his efforts to intimidate me. I simply said, “But don’t forget the first rule of negotiation . . . the more you got, the more you got to lose.” His response: “Is that a threat?” My next response was “No, of course not . . . it’s just reality.”
When we were done, his dismal negotiating results ended up with his “big law firm” losing its “big corporate client,” due to his foolish efforts to intimidate. Two months later, I learned that he, himself, then lost his million-dollar-a-year law firm partnership. Simple: Goliath has “more to lose,” as he surely learned.
Keep “Al Sklover’s Number One Rule of Negotiation” in mind: “The one with the most, is the one with the most to lose.” And use it carefully, sparingly, politely and effectively.
This wonderful quote comes from Malcolm Gladwell’s very enjoyable book aptly entitled “David and Goliath.” I thoroughly enjoyed it, and enthusiastically recommend it.
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