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If there is one area of expertise that is perhaps underestimated in business, it is the need and ability to negotiate with the package deals that come with certain clients, customers, buyers or suppliers. I’m talking about those people whose talents or patronage you desire, but who come with strings attached: a spouse or sibling or in-law or parent of lesser, even disastrous, abilities.

When I started out in the sports marketing field — in days when it could not be said to properly exist — these sorts of entanglements were routine. But this was much less the case in the offices of the Fortune 500. Today we see them everywhere; the old barriers seem to have fallen by the wayside. And that has made it imperative for all executives, no matter what their field, to add a repertory of interpersonal and family counseling techniques to their usual skill sets.

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