Try a little tenderness

For people who spend a lot of time dealing with conflicts - unpicking deals gone wrong, negotiating contract exits and putting all kinds of commercial wrongs to rights - we try not to forget that even the most intransigent opponent is a human too. Yes they are.

It is soooo tempting sometimes to score points against the other side and we do understand the fleeting satisfaction gained from doing so. Believe me, we've done it. But however pleasing it is to stick the boot in, it rarely (if ever) helps you achieve your business aim. Instead it tends to harden positions and make compromise less likely all round.

If you disagree, can you think of a situation where triumphantly pointing out the obvious failures of your loved ones elicited gratitude and acceptance of your infinite wisdom? I doubt it, and business is no different.

Making your case, articulating your argument well and being creative in reaching for a deal is far more likely to be successful. And acknowledging the humanity of your opponent through respectful conduct and even a little charm, works wonders and opens the door to compromise.

We can't always agree on everything but behaving the right way means you get to agree on the things that matter, much sooner.