Board Position and Your Place on the Board :
Your most challenging communication will occur during disputes. This section is our effort to assist you in these tough situations. You can become more effective in disputes by getting better results at lower financial and personal costs.
The first step is to establish your position on the board. Let us explain the board. Picture it like a chessboard. If you have one, it is very helpful to take it out, place a king or queen for each color on the board. To keep things clear, the white piece should be the offense and the black one the defense. This color code keeps things clear at all times.
Along the top you see from left to right: Important, Unimportant, Quieted, Discharged. Along the side you see: Long Term and Short Term.
You should print out our chart and mark your position and that of the other side on the board. If there are more than two players, use some lesser pieces and add them to the board (bishops or knights). Use the same color-coding.
Definitions of Positions :
Important : This means this is a priority of significance.
Unimportant : This means the situation has little influence on your life or business.
Quieted : Means the situation is in limbo, not active yet not discharged.
Discharged : A legal term meaning over.
Long Term : You expect this to have significance for some time.
Short Term : Usually a one time event of little overall importance.
Positions on the Board :
Think of this as a matter of geography. You and your side see the landscape one way. The other side sees it another. And then there is the true landscape. Our objective is to help you see the true landscape to start with. Then examine how the parties see theirrelative positions (usually incorrectly from our experience) and then help you to exploit these differences to your advantage.
Positions from the Parties Point of View :
Most defensive situations involve you in the upper left hand corner with an important long-term problem on your hands. A mortgage, an auto loan, a childs college plans, and a marriage would usually fit into this portion of the board.
Most offensive positions find themselves in the lower half of the grid between important and unimportant, but viewed as short term by them.
For example, a note holder views their situation as of short term importance. A child may view their college plans accordingly. The moving party in a divorce tends to see things this way too.
Defensive positions with a long term point of view are like the Chinese symbol of crisis, containing both opportunity and danger. The results vary widely according to what you do from that position on the board.
Defensive positions with a short term point of view are less impactive on one's life and you can therefore take greater risks in dealing with them. One time payments are like this.
The True Positions :
Let us take the example of the homeowner late on a mortgage. The homeowner views the situation as long term (planning to live there) and important (they owe a lot of money). The note holder views the situation as unimportant (they have a lot of loans)and short term (they put the loan in default, foreclose, and that's that).
On the surface this may appear true to the parties. But, the homeowner can make this a short term problem by selling, if there is equity in the property, or abandoning the property if not. Then the homeowner can negotiate from a distance, another statemaking that easier, or declare bankruptcy and eliminate the problem all together.
In other words, the homeowner has choices. The homeowner, on the defense, gets to make the choices. This is something offensive players forget all too often. They want something, but the defense has to give it. If they don't, the offense doesn't get it's most of the time. When on defense, how can you do better?
Decide what you will accept. Renegotiated terms? Selling the property? Abandoning it? Some combination of these factors?
· Clearly the answer is it depends on what you can get.
· This is where our letters, faxes, and emails come in.
· You want to negotiate the best alternativeand it will be a campaign, as a rule, not a one time event.
· To be a campaign is to your advantage, so must use the process adroitly.
· You are seeking out their weaknesses in your initial correspondence.
· The key purpose in your initial communications is to persuade them of your point of view.
· Generally by convincing them that the pain they can cause you is tolerable and what else do they have in mind that is positive, if anything?
What is most interesting about this approach is the offense generally thinks they hold all the cards, get to decide, and can enforce their decision. In fact, it is the defensive playerthat has the wider options, although not always pleasant ones.
Our sample letters in this CD will deal primarily with board positions. Once you determine the relative board positions, it doesnt matter as much from a communication point of view whether it is related to a late mortgage, a child with an education/job disaster, a major business dispute, a divorce, or a small problem such as a very overdue library book.
When preparing for the first Patriots Super Bowl, Coach Belichick determined a few things that were interesting from our point of view here:
· There were only 5 plays to look out for.
· Everything else was a variation.
· This is how we get you to write good letters: identify the play, largely disregard the variations, write the best letter for that situation, and observing how you are doing.
· What can you impact?
· What can't you?
· They decided the St. Louis Quarterback was too good to rush and disrupt. So they didn't waste their time.
· They concentrated on the St. Louis receivers and beating them up so they would wear down.
· This is like dealing with the mortgage company you can't stopforeclosure in many cases.
· However, you can limit the damage slowing them down and dealing with everything else.
· Belichick thought it would be a tight game if did their jobs well.
· He believed it would be decided in the last few minutes if everything went well for the Pats.
· He was right. So the plan was to get to the end in good shape and do their best then.
· They did exactly that in the final drive to win the game by a field goal.
John Madden, the expert, said (who was not privy to Belchicks game plan), when they had just over a minute on the last drive deep in their own territory, They should run out the clock and go to overtime.
Not if the other team is better, which St. Louis was, and you have the balland that is what your plan was!
You can lose lots of ways of course. But this was the opportunity they had played for all season and during the playoffs, so they took it.
You need to do the same with your planning. When you get to the right spot, close the deal.
Another way to look at this is like painting a room or a house. 80% of the work is preparation. This is similar to our getting you to review your board position. Only 20% is the actual painting or the actual writing of your communications. I hate to prep because it is most of the work. But the 80% makes it all worthwhile when you close the deal with the final painting.
No different in planning your letters. So lets get to work now.
Related Links :
Board Position and Your Place on the Board
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