Let’s talk about “The L-Bomb”.
This concerns a non-veto veto.
Ever in a situation where someone without involvement bewilderingly gets to kibosh your deal?
This is seldom good.
You often fall prey to a menacing perennial charm most foul. When a person with precious little to do with your plans thwarts your ambition.
Whether feeling their empire may be slightly imperiled and so focus on internal protection, think that if there’s going to be investment made anywhere it must be on their ideas above all others and seek to capture funds or resources for themselves, or simply like throwing their weight around to remind everyone how important they are, this is not an uncommon threat.
The so-named Luxembourg Compromise, aka Luxembourg Accord, nicknamed too The L-Bomb, emerged from the politics of the proto-European Union.
In smoke-filled rooms of the mid-20th century the fear of sleepwalking towards ever-tighter political togetherness at the expense of national sentience crashed into hopes for everyday progress. Plus ça change?
Frustrations reached a peak when – fully aware unanimity required – one country, France (insert your own national stereotypical jibe), didn’t show up. This ’empty-chair crisis’ forced a rethink.
One designed to allow things to keep moving forward if any party (stubbornly) stood alone.
And so “The Luxembourg Compromise was, in fact, not a compromise: it was an agreement to disagree”. It let’s the rest get on with something, framed as “not a veto, an opt-out”.
As the FT suggests, this face-saving measure means people should not be overridden and outvoted on an issue of vital national interest which risks humiliation. Although it’s of no legal standing, and has been ignored when invoked (see the French, again) there’s a powerful sales tool in this.
We also know the pain of a binary buyer choice. Sometimes, damagingly viewed as an ultimatum, it might allow those fearing lack of knowledge to favour a ‘no’ and condemn you to continue along the path of dreaded status quo.
Opening up a three-way choice can often split the no-camp in two. A ‘maybe’ can later lean ‘yes’-wards.
Going Lux – and launching its payload early – may well buy us quite the wriggle room.
Where you might worry about impending invisible meddling hands, can you introduce the concept to your closest personal prospect?
A way for you to shape a non-affected ‘no’ blocker into a more amendable, non-fatal abstention.
Imagine a query beginning as innocuously as;
“will we need a kind of Luxembourg Accord here, do you think?”
This could well lead us to uncovering the true decision-making powers as well as eagerness to deflect any potential ruin they may wreak.
& along similar lines see also this blog of mine from way back in March 2011…: