Crazy Monkey Negotiations

Crazy Monkey Negotiations

This story was recounted to us recently on a leisurely drive to Kariba. We thought you would enjoy it...

It was a vervet monkey. Gray fur, cute big eyes, tiny fingers and a charming personality. But as it became an adult, he turned monkeyish—swinging through the rafters of the office’s thatched roof, screaming at innocent passersby, and raiding the refrigerator anytime the office staff looked the other way.

I told her not to keep that thing as a pet. “Monkeys aren’t pets. They’re meant to be seen from afar. Enjoyed at a glance as they pester one another and eat a nice, ripe banana. Not brought in as part of the family."

“But he’s one of us now…” she replied.

Indeed. And I think he actually thought that he was human. Nasty little thing.

Anyway, one day, I was on a phone call with the largest distributor of paper goods in the area. He and I were about to ink a large deal. It was going to be grand. As we were negotiating and going back and forth, we had a few disagreements about some of the terms. Nothing major, just a typical, lively, business discussion.

I was in my office chair that was on a swivel. I turned the chair away from my desk.

Then it happened, Clifton, the monkey, came swinging through the rafters. He flew through the air from the roof and slammed down onto my desk, flinging my paperwork every which way. And making a rather large commotion.

In a flabbergast moment, I cupped my hand over the telephone’s handset and shouted at the top of my lungs, “WOULD SOMEONE COME AND GET THIS EFFING MONKEY OUT OF HERE!"

The office ladies came running and showed Clifton back to the rafters. Apologizing for the unruly vervet’s behavior.

Crisis averted. (Or so I thought.)

I returned to my colleague on the phone. “I’m sorry about that…I know you wouldn’t believe, but I had a monkey swinging through the rafters…"


I quickly tried to explain, but he would have none of it. The damage was done. Clifton had ruined my big deal.

It wasn’t funny in the moment, but I persisted and invited my new business enemy over for tea and we connected. I explained the situation. Then, introduced him to Clifton. And apologized profusely.

We shared a laugh and this gentleman became one of my best friendships in the business world.

Crisis will always come. It’s a given. You can’t avoid it in most cases. But you can respond to it, turn the tables on it, and use it to your advantage in creative ways.

Our friend in the story created a strong business ally due to a bizarre monkey mishap.

Use Clifton to your advantage.

(photo via samuelrodgers752)