Sunday, May 11, 2008

Leverage vesus manipulation

Understanding leverage is pretty easy. Leverage can be positive, neutral, or negative. Positive leverage results in an agreement were everybody wins, and they are delighted to have a deal. Neutral leverage results in an agreement that carries little fanfare or celebration. Negative leverage delivers a pact where one party clearly wins and the second party feels a loss. In its worst manifestations negative leverage results in one party coming to the table in a severely weakened and or demoralized condition only seeking relief from an intolerable situation. Manipulation enters the picture when the stronger party plays an active role in undermining the weaker counterpart.

Manipulation also extends to bending the rules and skewing the data thereby misrepresenting the circumstances in the perpetrators favor. To some degree this is expected in a healthy negotiation, we live in a competitive world, but there are those who are driven to win at all costs. These folks are not constrained by values, ethics, fairness or even the law in extreme cases.

Those who use negative leverage and manipulation are the bottom feeders of the world There seems to be no limit to the extent they will practice these skills. We have all read the stories about the roofer who signs a contract to install a new roof on a senior citizens house, then takes a $20,000 down payment and disappears into the night never to be seen again. This is tragic. I suppose the sub-prime mortgage guys aren't much better. They have impacted millions.

These guys are employers who take advantage of ordinary employees with restrictive vacation and sick time policies, miss-leading health insurance programs. They intitute abusive management practices, unfair incentive compensation programs and maintain poor working conditions. Watch for companies and organization that have high employee turnover this is a sure sign of an unhealthy environment. People don't change jobs in large numbers without good reason. Bad people are out there in greater numbers than we think.

Don't settle. Find good people to work with and work for and do business with. They are out there and it will make a difference in your life and in the world to get close to these good people. And pay it forward every chance you get.

Thanks for reading.

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