We continue the series about errors and recovering with an excellent example of acceptable loss and when to walk away.  We see these appear in negotiations regularly.  They are shown in movies, television shows, and in real life.  We walk away regularly without even realizing it. So yes, when you decide not to purchase an item or enter a store because of products or pricing, you are walking away from the negotiation.

Determine Acceptable Loss Up Front

The key to being able to walk away from any negotiation is to determine your breaking point beforehand.  This preparation allows us to detach emotion from the negotiation and have a way to hold ourselves accountable.  It can prompt the internal conversation of “I thought we would not accept that…”  That one can be a lifeline when emotions start to kick in.  Likewise, we can create a list of wants/needs to help us avoid giving in to speed up the process or prevent conflict.  Those are all “tricks” used by good negotiators.

Good After Bad

We all have a built-in desire to avoid loss.  That is why the idea of having invested too much to stop investing in a person or project is a common pitfall.  We have this false equivalence of thinking we can invest more in a loss and turn it into a win.  Likewise, we often make the mistake of thinking we have spent so much we have to continue.  Our point of no return needs to be set before starting a project.  That is why this story works so well.  I could have quickly decided that my time was worth X dollars.  THen, when faced with a change in value, I would have had a hard line to measure against.  These bad habits involve emotion and can be avoided if we think them through beforehand.

If you like this season, you will probably like Scott Adams’ book, “How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life.”

Rob Broadhead

Rob is a founder of, and frequent contributor to, Develpreneur. This includes the Building Better Developers podcast. He is also a longtime student of technology as a developer, designer, and manager of software solutions. Rob is the founder of RB Consulting and has managed to author a book about his family experiences as well as a few about becoming a better developer. In his free time, he stays busy raising five children (although a few have grown into adults). When he has a chance to breathe, he is on the ice playing hockey to relax.

Leave a Reply