I was just browsing a website where I came across young, sexually inexperienced men lecturing other men on how “lucky” they were to have a girl to wake up next to, and how, if they were in those men’s shoes, they would basically walk on water for such girls and do anything the girl could possibly want or ask... if they could get them.
In response, the men who actually got laid and had girlfriends laughed at them and responded with things along the lines of, “And that’s why you don’t have a girlfriend.”
In business, you find it’s of vital importance to be aware of the relative strength (or weakness) of your position walking into a negotiation – any negotiation.
Ideally, you’ll walk into a negotiation where both parties are negotiating from strong positions – you are strong, and the other party is strong. In this case, you stand the best chance at having a fair outcome for both parties (a win-win) because neither side will compromise on things that are important to them.
Also possible – but far less likely – are negotiations where both parties are weak. These will also tend to be “fair” negotiations, as they are alliances of convenience; however, they don’t happen so much because everyone wants to ally himself with someone strong, and this is especially true for the weak.
Lastly, you will encounter negotiations that are weak-strong (or strong-weak), where one party negotiates from a position of relative weakness, and the other negotiates from a position of relative strength. These negotiations tend toward being extraordinarily one-sided in their outcomes the vast majority of the time – they are net value transfers from the weak party to the strong party.
That’s because the weak party inevitably compromises far too much – he knows he has little to offer, and doesn’t know when he’ll get another shot at a deal with a stronger party, so he becomes willing to trade anything simply just to keep the stronger party around and, hopefully, give himself the chance to “prove himself” to said stronger party as someone worthy getting access to even the littlest piece of value back.
Yet these dynamics are not unique to business – they happen with people, too. And the easiest place to see them in action? “Nice guys” trying to get dates and girlfriends.