Scott was in a quandary. His candidate wanted the job, and the company
wanted to make the hire. But they just couldn't agree on terms.
Scott tried several times to reach a compromise, but neither side would
budge. The main issue was the compensation package, which had morphed
into a mish-mash of sticking points.
For example, when the salary went up, the revenue sharing went down. The
more generous the perks, the more stringent the performance goals
became. And when the signing bonus ballooned, the severance package
deflated. And so it went.
To make matters worse, Scott was beginning to take heat from both sides.
The harder he tried to put the deal together, the more each side accused
him of playing favorites. From a dealmaker's perspective, it was a total
Bad Blood and Gridlock
Frustrated, Scott pondered the situation. It seemed that both sides
sincerely wanted to work together, but their pride kept them apart.
Ironically, the only common ground was their growing distrust of him.
So Scott took an unusual step. Borrowing from the script of a typical TV
Scott played "good cop/bad cop." Only Scott cast himself as the bad cop.
Admitting his failure to find a solution, Scott persuaded the candidate
and the company to let a neutral third party act as an arbitrator. Then
Scott stepped back graciously and let the good cop -- a well-known and
highly respected business leader -- find a way for everyone to settle
Scott felt he had nothing to lose and everything to gain. He didn't care
who got the credit, as long as both sides walked away with a smile.
Scott's Big Gamble
And that's exactly what happened. A few hours after meeting, the
candidate and the company came to terms. The candidate got the job he
wanted, the company got a superstar for their team, and neither Scott's
reputation -- nor his fee -- was diminished.
Were it not for Scott's creativity -- and his willingness to put aside
his ego -- the deal might have never taken shape.
"Bad Cop" in the News
The technique I just described has not only worked for me in certain
situations, it recently served as the centerpiece of an historic sports
When longtime agent Scott Boras reached an impasse in the contract
negotiation between his client, baseball superstar Alex Rodriguez and
the New York Yankees, a neutral third-party, billionaire Warren Buffett,
was asked to arbitrate.
Soon after, the Yankees announced that a 10-year, $275 million agreement
had been reached. Although Scott Boras had bowed out of the direct
negotiations, he played a significant supporting role in crafting the
language of the contract.
Scott's deal represents the richest contract in major league baseball
history, and consists of a complex series of bonuses and incentives tied
to several different performance goals.
As far as I know, neither Scott Boras' reputation -- nor his fee -- was