“High stakes” situations

December 7, 2016

People ask me what do I mean by “high stakes” situations? Clearly they are situations where there is something important at stake, but there’s a couple more elements as well.

High stakes situations usually have three things in common:

  • Time is short
  • Emotions are high
  • The outcome is important but unpredictable

This is clearly the case in a courtroom, where someone’s liberty or finances are on the line.

In a limited time frame, with emptions running high, the lawyer is unable to predict the outcome – and unwilling to rely on it going well. As a result, he or she sets about trying to create that outcome.

It’s the same in a hostage situation. With emotions high and time running out, a peaceful resolution is not always predictable or likely. It’s up to the negotiator to build a result that all parties can live with.

This critical skill happens in specific moments – what I call “make or break” moments.

Moments in time when you can choose to go one way or the other – and you need to consistently make the right choice in order to create the future you prefer.

We all have make or break moments in our business and personal lives. It’s how we handle these moments that make the difference between the result we prefer and the one we might otherwise get.