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Why 'I'm happy' can cause more conflict, not less

Commercial conflict is often about how issues are ‘perceived’. This is why creativity, expressed in repackaged forms, can be so powerful – ‘differences of opinion’, ‘exploring new opportunities’ and ‘creative differences’ these of course just a few that are used when the smell of conflict is in the air. ‘I’m happy with that’ is a bit different, it can ‘provoke’ more insidious ambitions in the other party if they are of that persuasion.


We all at some point experience competitive behaviour in others – commercial conflict often evokes strong (sometimes competitive) emotions which drives our behaviour. For some, their inner voice will hear ‘I’m happy with that’ and will then decide that ‘if they’re happy, they think they’ve got a good deal. If they think that, then I’ve got a worse deal – what have I missed?’ Suddenly a good deal is perceived as a poor deal, with the danger of short cuts/scope creep/contractual clauses being used to ‘claw back’ some value afterwards, risking the integrity of the deal in the process.


Instead of using ‘I’m happy (with that)’ maybe position your acceptance with a more sanguine response ‘On the basis that the other items are OK, I’m comfortable with that’ or ‘if everything else is agreed I can sign up to this’. It may save you a whole lot of trouble, later on down the line.

Sam Macbeth, 16th November 2022

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