Checking to Check Out


Checking in to Check Out-

A reminder about the assumption we may make and the importance of checking in to check out those assumptions. Inaccurate assumptions can kill an otherwise potentially mutually beneficial negotiation and relationship.

I feel a little like the youngster in the following example wanting to check in with you as it has been some time since the last coaching message.

Billy was a ten-year old fifth-grader who had a small yard and gardening business he conducted after school and on Saturdays afternoons but not on Sundays. One Saturday morning, Billy was in Harold’s barbershop waiting to get a haircut. Harold was still busy with a customer, so Billy went over to the telephone and made the following call. He didn’t have a cell phone.

“Hello, Mrs. Anderson,” he said.” I am a fifth-grader,and I have a lawn and gardening service that I do after school and on the Saturday afternoon and I was just wondering, Mrs. Anderson, if you would like me to take care of your lawn and garden?”

“Oh, you already have someone doing that for you.” “Oh, you are very satisfied with their work”? “Oh, and you are not thinking about making a change.” “Oh, well, thank you for your time, Mrs. Anderson,” and he hung up the phone.

Harold had overheard the conversation and said to Billy, “Billy, I thought you took care of Mrs. Anderson’s lawn and garden.”

” I do,” said Billy. “I was just checking in to check out how well I was doing.”

Ten-year old and in the fifth grade.

Should you and I do any differently- checking in to check out how well we are doing with your clients, family, co-workers..?

Right now I am checking in with you to check out to see if you find these NO to GO® coaching messages valuable.

Always great to hear from you.

Keep flying and soaring,


Room Out In Front


“Always a lot of room out in front.”

Recently  my alma mater Hollywood High School was named to Register of Historic Places. That brought back fond memories and some life lessons learned while there.

I played  football at Hollywood High School when we played for the Los Angeles  City football championship in the Los Angeles Coliseum. As the football coach was also the track coach- Coach Ernie Nauman had us go out for track. I ran the 440-yard race.

In the track meet against Los Angles High School, I finished near to the last. After the meet, I complained to Coach Nauman   that at the first turn – one of the LA High school runners cut me off which broke my stride. “I could have placed and even won if I hadn’t been cut off”.  I mumbled.

Coach responded.  “Rob, there is always a lot of room out in front.”

I thought Coach must be crazy- “A lot of room out in front”.

Later I realized he was telling me if I had been out front, no one would have been able to cut me off. Even to this day, I think about what that means- to be out in front.

It can have many different meanings for any of us. Perhaps it means  to reach out to others to let them know they are important to us and to simply thank them more often.

Maybe “a lot of room out in front’ is a special  invitation to  step out in front in faith and confidence that we can and will make a  positive difference in our life and  the lives of others.

It has been my privilege to work with  many of you through  seminars , consulting,  coaching and publishing.

You are important to me. Thank you.

Don’t Wobble


There is the story of a forest weasel who sat upon a rock and watched potential prey go by. All of a sudden, he would attack one and kill it. When asked,

Weasel, how do you determine which prey to strike and kill? the weasel answered, I just watch their walk. If they walk as if they don’t know where they are going, and wobble, I move in for the kill and hit them.

As the weasel watched the potential prey walk by, he looked for weakness and vulnerability, for lack of purpose and direction. Instead of Mr. Weasel sitting on a rock, looking down at potential prey, imagine your Mr. Weasel, your counterpart, watching you. It’s as simple as that. So don’t wobble!

Our metaphoric weasel can sometimes take the human form of muggers. A TV talk-show host interviewed some ex-muggers (“ex” because they were now in jail). She asked them how they chose whom to mug out of all the possible victims walking on the streets of the city.”

They replied that if a person’s walk indicated they were scared and did not know where they were going, if they were indecisive and seemed confused, they hit them. On further questioning, they remarked they seldom would consider, let alone attack, an individual—regardless of age, sex, or size—if the person appeared confident, direct, and purposeful in their walk and where they were going.

Remember, such signals sent by the wobbler in a negotiation as: “I don’t now what I want”: I am not a good negotiator”; I don’t have any negotiating power”;“I lack the commitment and focus in getting it”; “I am vulnerable; come and take advantage of me.” Well, maybe not in so many words .

When sitting, just sit. When standing, just stand. Above all, dont wobble.” Confucius saying.

Fork in the Road


You might recall the scene in the 1865 Lewis Carroll publication Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland where Alice comes to the fork in the road in the forest.

She doesn’t know which way to go. She sees a Cheshire cat out on the limb of an oak tree. “Which way should I go from here?” Alice asked. “Well, that depends a great deal on where you would like to get to,” the cat replied. “Oh, I don’t much care where I get to,” said Alice. “Well, then, it doesn’t make much difference which path you take,” the cat said.

Pretty smart cat, don’t you think? It not only talked but its words were wise.

You and I are constantly coming to the forks in the road of our work and lives. Should we accept our counterpart’s offer or not? Should we go with this supplier over the other suppliers? “Should I leave my current job to take advantage of a opportunity?” “Should I ask for a raise now or wait three months?” “It looks like a deal too good to be true—is it, and if so shouldn’t I take it?”

Yogi Berra, the famous Yankee baseball catcher from the late 40s to the early 60s  (and who incidentally threw out the first ball in the 2000 World Series) had some advice on when one comes to the fork in the road. His advice was, “Take it.” Not too helpful, is he?

The student asked the teacher, “Teacher, when I come to the fork in the road, how do I know which road to take?” The teacher remarked, “You do not always know which road to take, but whatever road you take, travel it well, travel it wisely, and by all means enjoy.”

Isn’t that so true. In negotiating, we are never quite know for sure where the negotiated road will take us. We do know whatever road we take it is important to travel it well, wisely, and enjoy it as much as we can.

Keep in mind what your purpose and your intentions are as you negotiate and travel down the paths of your life.

All roads lead to somewhere. Are you on the right road? 

Don’t wobble.

Keep flying and soaring.

Best Audience


Best Audience-

I was at a New York Conference and found myself sitting next to Lucie Arnaz- an actress, singer ,dancer ,producer and daughter of Lucille Ball  and Desi Arnaz of I Love Lucy TV show.

At the break in the session I turned to Lucie Arnaz and remarked that one of my Hollywood High School classmates, the world famous comedian Carol Burnett  had said something  incredibly complimentary  about her mother that I have never forgotten

I told her that Carol Burnett remarked that in real life, Lucy was so different from her public persona  on the “I Love Lucy Show”.  Carol said’ “Whenever I talked to Lucy, she became my best audience.”

She was saying that Lucy truly listened, cared, empathized and actively was there for Carol.

I thought to myself- Oh wow. For how many people ,friends, family, colleagues, negotiating partners and others am I their best audience?

What might happen in the next time when we are with someone and we truly become  their best audience?

Always good to hear from you and I always respond back.

Keep flying and soaring-


Robert D. Rutherford, Ph.D.
RGI-NO to GO Programs
1195 Fairfield Drive
Boulder, CO 80305
Tel: (303) 494-9444

The NO to GO The Successful Negotiator program presented by Dr. Rutherford, is the nations longest standing professional development and negotiation program offered at any major university or institution of higher learning (California Institute of Technology) developed and presented by the same instructor.