Playing Defense as Well as Offense
Anthony Finney: So I had a contract drawn up to buy you and your company lock, stock, and barrel.
Ray Donovan: I’m not for sale [walks away].
Anthony Finney: Ahh . . we’re still negotiating.
–“Ray Donovan”; “Come and Knock on Our Door” (episode 3, season 3).
You can tell more about someone’s negotiating skills from how they play a weak hand than how they play a strong one.
After all, when you’re holding four aces, who needs negotiating skill??
The Art of the Timeout
Which is what I liked about the scene in “Ray Donovan” where business potentate Anthony Finney, played by Ian McShane, essentially rejects Ray Donovan’s rejection by characterizing it as a negotiating ploy.
Which is itself a negotiating ploy.
Sometimes, when you’re the underdog, a tie is a win, and when you’re about to be routed, the smartest thing you can do . . . is to call a timeout.
“Tie-Win’s” and “Tie-Losses”
Two famous football games illustrate the point.
In one, Harvard overcame a 16 point deficit against Yale in the game’s final 42 seconds to secure a tie.
The Harvard Crimson’s headline: “Harvard Defeats Yale 29-29.”
Conversely, the most famous “tie-loss” would be Notre Dame’s decision, in its last possession late in the game, to run out the clock (and avoid a turnover) rather than try to defeat Michigan State.
Critics instantly labeled the strategy, “Tie One For the Gipper.”