TheUC 027: Snatching Victory from the Jaws of Defeat


Whether you are working on deal, raising money, dealing with a partner, vendor or employee, at some point, the relationship might start to go south. Defeat may be looming, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still salvage victory. What happens when you are crossing a proverbial bridge and see that there might be a crack in the foundation? Do you stop and fix it? Could the bridge come crumbling down? And if that’s the case, do you get off the bridge or ensure you fix it before it gets to that point? There are MANY ways to cross a bridge, and you can even decide that isn’t the bridge you want to use to move forward toward the long-term value you are trying to build. Of all the ways to cross a bridge, burning it is NEVER going to work out well, and it is BAD capitalism! If you believe defeat may be impending, you can seek victory and snatch it from the jaws of defeat. If a bridge is worth saving, make sure you aren’t the one destroying it.

In order to have a chance at snatching victory from the jaws of defeat, you must:

  • Maintain the integrity of the relationship
  • KEEP the lines of communication OPEN regardless of whether or not the deal goes through
  • Communicate clearly & keep your conscience clear
  • Avoid temper tantrums…and don’t indulge them in others.
  • Place the long term value of the deal above being ‘liked’
  • Don’t fear temporarily rocking the boat.
  • Don’t devalue someone just because the parameters of the deal may have changed.
  • Beware of placing truth above harmony…or harmony completely above truth. Do right over being right.

If you are crossing a bridge and you see a crack in the foundation, do you stop and fix it?

  • Is this bridge worth saving?
  • Do I want to turn around and cross a different bridge?
  • Is the investment already made worth fixing the bridge so it is strong enough to successfully cross and perhaps made strong enough so it can be crossed by many more in the future.
  • How can I maintain the value that currently exists without destroying it regardless of whether or not the bridge is worth fixing?

If you want to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, you have 3 choices. Remember that burning the bridge is NEVER one of them!

  • First: Stick your head in the sands of ignorance. You can ignore the problems in the bridge and believe them to be minor and cross the bridge and convince yourself that you did the right thing because you didn’t rock the boat.
  • Second: You can decide that you will just smile and nod at the bridge and those crossing and say, Thanks, but I’m going to cross a different way.
    • For Issues 1 & 2: While you can convince yourself this is done with the interest of long term value, you are really just enabling the damage of the bridge…it is like those folks who see someone who may be lost or in need in some way and choosing to not help because you assume someone else will, and it isn’t going to be your problem.
  • Third: You can decide that you’ve invested a lot into this bridge and you believe there is still great long term value in crossing it, so you decide you will make efforts to fix it
    • Not every will appreciate this option. People may get offended, and they still shoot the messenger.