-No you always win, find someone else to beat, he said. -What about if I let you pick one of my chess pieces, of your own choice, before we start a game, would you play chess with me then? I replied. – Of course, he said and picked the king from me.
They say you can learn a lot about a person by playing golf with them, I would say you can learn a lot about a person by playing chess with them, its is not always about win win, some people only care about winning even though it is just for fun.
Back in my school days I played a lot of chess with my class mates. I became quite good at it, so in the end I had difficulties finding class mates that would play a game with me, of course I got a bit cocky about it, so I had to change the power balance a bit to find anyone that would play chess with me.
When you get used to winning or having all the power, you do not always know how to act when you are starting to loose or when you are low on power. In real life we learn best from our misstakes, but in real life that can also be very costly.
Win/win in playing chess is not always about the power balance being equal, in chess and in real life negotiations, you do not always start of with the same set of chess pieces, often the power balance is tilted one way or the other.
If you are good at chess and used to winning, then it’s a very good thing to have to play with less pieces against your friends, so you have to try harder to find a flexible strategy that can help yourself through your difficulties.
In real life, as in chess, you have to give away some pieces to win the game, many times you try to trade off pieces of lesser or equal value, but sometimes it will cost you more to win.
You do not have to win every battle in chess, you can even win by loosing every battle but still winning the war or the game, as long as you know what you are doing by sticking to a flexible strategy.
I have never heard anyone say in chess “You won the game , but I took more chess pieces than you did from me”, have you?
One of the best gifts that you can get, both in chess and in real life, is to be underestimated by a new opponent who does not know how good you are or what you are capable of doing.
But if you are looking for a long term relationship, or even a friend, then I suggest you tell him that you know a little about chess.
However, we have to keep in mind that chess is not about both parties getting what they want, it is a game about war, where one part only will give in by giving up all its principles or pieces.
In real life, as in business, we talk a lot about win/win situations, but is that the reality?
Well, my experience says that sadly enough, it is not the case all the time, I hear a lot of people talk about win/win, but the way they act and use dirty tricks tells me that their agenda is more win for themselves and less win for the other party.
They are just looking for your walkaway point, and trying to hit it just within, so you don’t leave the table, not because they want to hurt you, its only because they try to maximize their own business opportunity.
If you are looking for good long relationship, do not squeeze out the last euro of your opponent, they will just be waiting to hit you back when they can in the future.
If any of you have read Machiavelli “The Prince” or done the “Machiavelli test” on internet by answering the 20 questions to see how much of a good or bad person you are, then you maybe have a understanding what I am trying to say here.
If you haven’t had the privilege to read the book, then I can say it is a book about how to be successful ruler, politician or businessman by knowing the game rules to win no matter what.
The test is more about understanding, on a scale from 1 to 100, how much of good or evil you are, as a person, most of us are in the middle, but some people will do anything to get what they want, and score close to 100.
Not all of his tips and tricks are good, but they would definitely get you to the top and make sure your opponents never bother you again.
You have probably heard ” The end justify the means” even though Macciavelli never said it, it is more a conclusion from one of his chapters.
My personal view of why he wrote “The Prince” is more, in hen sight, of that he was in prisoned in his own house awaiting trial and spilling the beans to all the good guys so they could fight back and win against all the greedy b*stards ruling in mid evil Italy.
He was never reemployed again, he lived the rest of his life writing plays and books, The Prince was first published after his death.
Machiavelli lived during a period when corruption and back stabbing was common among all the local city’s fighting each other, some of the more famous names from this period is Borgia and the family Di Medici.
So next time you meet a opponent that you can see is not looking for a greater good or is using dirty tricks to win, then you know how to act, even though you’re not a bad person, and that you have personal integrity thats restricts you from totally destroying them.
At least you will be able to fight them off and win, if that is what you want and need to do, or just simply walk away or deadlock if that is what you desire.
If you would like to learn more about Dirty Tricks in negotiations and how to counter them, you can download it from Scotworks homepage.
If you would like to train how to become a great or better negotiator then you can join any of our courses around the world, it will help you to understand and gain control, no matter how difficult your negotiations are out in real life.
Senior Consultant BellBlomquist Consulting.