Why We Hope You Fail

When Chief Justice John Roberts gave the address at his son’s 9th grade graduation last spring, he said he wanted to address “some of the harsh realities that everyone will face in the course of a full life:”

From time to time in the years to come, I hope you will be treated unfairly, so you will come to know the value of justice.  I hope that you will suffer betrayal, because that will teach you the importance of loyalty.  I wish you bad luck, again, from time to time so that you will be conscious of the role of chance in life, and understand that your success is not completely deserved and that the failure of others is not completely deserved either.  I hope you’ll be ignored so that you know the importance of listening to others.

Whether I wish these things or not, they’re going to happen.  And whether you benefit from them or not will depend on your ability to see the message in your misfortune.
(as described by Bob Greene in the Wall Street Journal of December 29, 2017:https://www.wsj.com/articles/i-wish-you-bad-luck-he-said-with-good-intentions-1514499865)

Chief Justice Roberts’ words offer important lessons for business negotiations.  You can’t expect fairness in every negotiation – in fact, you can’t expect success in every negotiation.

We at Mobus Creative Negotiating teach you how to learn from setbacks.  Of course, it is important to analyze what happened to see what valuable lessons can be gained for how to do better the next time. If the other side was reacting irrationally to a deal that was in their best interests, you should examine how could you have made their irrationality work for you instead of against you.  Was there some way you could have pitched the deal that would have made it more appealing emotionally?

But it is also useful to incorporate the insight that sometimes deals fall through for reasons totally beyond your control: the other side can have a management reorganization or be bought out, they can be forced to change their plans for reasons that have nothing to do with you, or whatever.   That can happen when everything seems to be going fine and you are just about ready to finalize an agreement.  Mobus Creative Negotiation emphasizes the importance of gathering information about your negotiating partner from a wide variety of sources, which gives you the best chance of having early warning that a big shift may be coming.  But even with that, life is not always fair, and there can be a last-minute catastrophe after you thought everything was finalized. We at MCN can show you how to analyze what went wrong, and we also give you sharper insight into how to improve next time so you’ll become a stronger and stronger negotiator over the course of your business career.