Our goal at The Black Swan Group is to help negotiators improve. One of the more effective ways of getting better is listening to advice and anecdotes from those who have “been there, done that”. From time to time we will highlight discussions with current and retired negotiators. Enjoy our spotlight on Byron Sage!
Kidnappers are the world’s toughest negotiators. From our perspective, a kidnapping is a horrifying event but to a kidnapper it is simply a transaction. They are commodities dealers. They are used to a hard bargaining approach that gets the last dime on the table. Kidnappers are also used to their counterpart’s fear of losing the deal being their leverage.
A few years back, a kidnapping occurred in Southeast Asia that didn’t turn out the way it was expected. In the final resolution, several of the victims were killed by friendly fire in a botched rescue attempt. We had done everything that we knew how and it hadn’t been enough. I knew we had to get better. Going forward, we completely changed how we opened negotiations with the world’s toughest negotiators.