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The sooner the better…

Horace McDonald
Negotiation White Lotus [Converted]
© Adobe Stock

It has long since been remarked that we’re in the golden age of television and I have to admit that I watch a lot of it. I work from the bottom of my garden, so even on a long working day, I have plenty of free time to indulge. I don’t need to be out every night, the kids have left home and my wife also works from home. We like watching TV together (have I mentioned I also watch a lot of football?), we rarely if ever binge and typically have 3ish series on the go at any one time and watching these together is sacrosanct. Whilst our kids are no longer at home, between us we share a lot of messages about the things we all like and make recommendations, we’ve taught them well. It never ceases to amaze me when I encounter people who don’t watch TV, but as they say, there’s nowt stranger than folk.

We’ve recently finished watching the 2nd season of The White Lotus, an American black-comedy drama series which follows the guests and employees of the fictional eponymous hotel chain and takes place across a week of new guest arrivals. The first series was set in Hawaii and the second in Sicily. Both seasons tease the end of the series at the very beginning, but there are sufficient twists and turns to disavow the viewer from working out the plot (even for my wife). The original press release for the series states that ‘each passing day, a darker complexity emerges in these picture-perfect travellers, the hotel’s cheerful employees and the idyllic locale itself’. The show was created, written and directed by Mike White who created 2003’s wonderful ‘School of Rock’ film with his mate Jack Black.

The show’s dark underbelly is in stark contrast to the amazing beauty of the White Lotus hotels. Whilst each of the guests arrive mostly independently, sometimes as couples, sometimes with friends, their journeys and stories intertwine with the some of the other guests and also with the staff, thus revealing the personal issues they are seeking to escape from and bit like how we use our 8-Step Framework to distil negotiation, the Seven deadly sins (Pride, Greed, Wrath, Lust, Envy, Gluttony and Sloth) are very much the feature here. Having just typed ‘the seven deadly sins’ into Google, the first thing that appeared on the search result was its link to White Lotus and a series of videos connecting the two has 12M views on TikTok, and there was me thinking I was the first person to have made the connection!

Each guest’s journey becomes increasingly perilous as their excesses and peccadillos, often linked to their extreme wealth, have greater chance to be exploited. Two examples spring immediately to mind, in the first Tanya McQuoid (a rich, needy self-absorbed heiress) brilliantly the only character who appears in both series, is charmed by a wealthy British expat Quentin who whisks Tanya and her assistant Portia off to his sumptuous villa for a party he is holding with a number of (gay) friends. By this point, Portia had previously been seduced by Quentin’s nephew Jack. All seems well until Tanya is woken on the first night by noises coming from another room and sees Quentin and Jack engaged in sexual congress, thus suggesting that the relationship and their motivations are not as originally stated. Later Tanya comes across a picture whilst surreptitiously exploring Quentin’s bedroom, which suggests to a possible connection between her husband (who mysteriously left the holiday early) and Quentin. At breakfast the following morning, Tanya made mention of the fact to Portia that the relationship between Quentin and Jack was questionable, but chose not to provide any facts. This lack of disclosure has significant implications for the rest of their journey, which you’ll only know if you watch it. Yes, I know it’s only a TV programme, however the show is littered with examples such as this, the second highlights two couples who have travelled together (the husbands were at Yale together) who spent a night apart as one of the wives had booked a similarly opulent hotel as a mini- break within a break and the other wife who’d accompanied her comes back to find potentially incriminating evidence that could question her husband’s fidelity (he was innocent) but rather than telling the truth (the character never lied to his wife) he further imperilled their increasingly fractious relationship by being economical with the truth.

At Scotwork, we believe that if you have bad news that you need to give the other party, tell them early. There is little to be gained from withholding it, by revealing it late you damage trust, decrease the opportunity for the other party to be part of the solution and it puts you on the back front, which is a place you never want to be as a negotiator!

The third season is based in Thailand, we can’t wait…

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