Risk is a Hot Potato

Avoid opening and serving a can of risk to a client when going through a negotiation. Especially not when the product you are providing is not the buyer’s only option.  

For example, imagine a situation where the equipment you are supplying to industry is doing pretty well.  Multiple orders are about to drop.  You might think it a good time to let your potential client know that if they hold back on placing an order soon,  they might have to go to the back of the line for deliveries. 

Well, it depends.  If you were in the west, your counterpart might be more inclined to appreciate your candor, and your openness might actually be a strong enough call to action to get you the deal.  Scarcity and social proof doing its magic again right?

In Asia, especially in China, that most likely will be seen as show of weakness.  You have just introduced an unknown variable into the procurement team’s decision equation.  

“Can I trust them to deliver on time if they are this busy?”

“What if my boss isn’t able to decide till next Wednesday?  I don’t want to get into trouble…”

If communication of tight delivery schedules is needed, and that call to action is still something you want to throw out there, ring-fence that risk.  Instead of saying that deliveries might get delayed, try putting a fixed number next to your statement.

“If an order isn’t placed within the week, expected delivery time then goes to 3 months.” 

This way, risk in the form of an extra unknown variable is taken away from the buyer’s smorgasbord of decision making factors. 

Risk is a hot potato, don’t be passing it onto a potential client’s lap! You do not want to be the supplier that makes a procurement team’s job that little more complex. 

Don’t Get Locked Out!
Taizhou, Jiangsu Province

Why The Sacrifice?

My grandpa volunteered to leave home (Australia) to fight the Japanese empire in a foreign land, thousands of kilometers from home.  My young grandma was pregnant at the time with my dad.

My great grandma on my Mom’s side left Southern China on a wooden vessel, heading south into the unknown, the only certainty she had was that she would never see home again.

Choices were made at significant personal cost.  What propelled them?  What was the value they saw in stepping into the abyss?

I sit here sipping on an organic dry red, candlelight licking at the brushed aluminium corners of my Apple laptop.  I have Australian sheepskin shoes on my feet, and am gazing at wooden christmas toys hand carved in the Saxon Mountain ranges of Germany.  I have never wanted for anything.

The number of layers of protection I am cocooned in thanks to my friends, my family and the state make it impossible for me to understand what my forbears felt as they pushed off from the shore.

As we trudge to work shoulders hunched, wishing the work day was behind us rather than still to come,  I have to wonder why we are unable to make our own leaps of faith towards carving out a different existence.

What If Life Was a Gamble?

Caravaggio, The Cardsharps. c.1594

Gambling is perceived to be a vice in most cultures.  The yearning to obtain material gain by short-circuiting good ole work ethic does not sit well in societies today.  Gambling requires that we put something valuable (usually our hard-earned currency) at risk, for a swift in-kind reward.  A ‘win’ allows us access to fruits of labour which is not our own, and affords us a thrill that is unlike any other.  Gambling can be and often is extremely addictive.

So why the negative vibe surrounding the act of gambling?  It is commonplace to hear of how fortunes have been lost and lives ruined due to the act of gambling.  While we are often filled with euphoria when we hit the proverbial jackpot, losing your mortgage payment on the blackjack table brings on shame and anger in a withering way.  Most have been burned before, and the scars cause us to swear off gambling as a means of attaining what we deeply (or not so deeply) desire.  We rarely hear respected members of our society extol the joys of gambling, and as a whole, we as a tribe follow suit.

To put it broadly, societies view gambling as bad because it is seen as irresponsible stewardship of the resources at our disposal.  Pursuits of shortcuts is also perceived by many as a form of laziness.  Fruits of labour they are called, not fruits of the jackpot.

An Interesting Hypothetical

What if however, we found ourselves in a parallel universe. 

Imagine if we were handed a bag of twenty four blue gambling chips every morning. These chips can only be deployed within the day, but winnings begotten by gambling with these expiring chips do not expire. Chips won are not blue, but are of a crimson tincture.  These beautiful red chips can be kept, spent, reinvested, and they never expire.  They are eternal.

Please keep imagining. Do these daily blue chips imbue titillating excitement or heavy dread as they sit in your hands?  You have to spend them in any case, but what do you spend them on?

In such a situation, our fundamental view of gambling should start to shift.  What would you do with that bag of blue chips you find on your bedside table each morning? Do you deploy them?  Is it considered gambling when what you lose was going to expire anyway?

Currently, most of us grab our chips and walk straight over to the restaurant section in the game hall.  We trade the chips in for a comfortable spot with a view and the tastiest morsels our blue chips can buy.  

Risking Those Blue Chips

Well, there are other avenues for those chips to be deployed in, and we know it.  

Curiously, the poker rooms and the roulette tables in our midst offer little attraction for the majority of us.  We steer clear even though the chips lost were going to be worthless anyway.  Why?

I do not know, but I am guessing that for some, the opportunity to place the blue chips at risk for a greater permanent reward does not even register.  For most, an arena that requires participants engage in ‘risky behaviour’, albeit for enviable gain, is just too intimidating an idea to entertain.  

We view ourselves as responsible actors within our own society’s well-worn social fabric, and we make our progress with the rest of the herd in as riskless a way as possible.  Due to this, these arenas where our expiring chips can be put to use remain foreign territory to us.

In case you haven’t yet figured it out, those blue chips I am referring to is the time we get to spend each day.

So why do we not try to hit home runs with the hours we get each day, or the weeks we get each year?   We live in the age of the Internet.  A blog, a song or a video channel has a reachable audience of the globe!

The ability to change our collective environment lies literally at our fingertips.  The opportunities that the modern world affords us are truly astounding.  We live in an era already unimaginable to people who are still alive and well today!  Our blue chips are worth so much more than they used to, it would be a shame not to go on an adventure to see what we could trade them for.

Some resources that I found helpful