Every kind of agreement – job, contract, joint venture, supplier, customer, partnership – comes to an end sometime. Even the closest relationships can break down. The tighter the bond the more complex the mix of anger, resentment, pride, ego, disappointment and guilt. Add in a dose of worry and a pinch of loss and you have the recipe for months of pain and years of rankle.

It’s emotional.

It’s easy to get drawn into endless battles over detail that squeeze any remaining goodwill from the lemon. Worse, all the skirmishing steals time and energy that’s better spent planning for what happens after.

Your only priority should be resolution. It’s not a battle you need to win, it’s just one that needs to be over.

Focus on the end game, ignore differences of opinion, and push for clarity in the settlement. It’s easier if the other side is behaving like a grown-up, but even if they aren’t, see through the trees and keep marching home.

The last step is accepting it’s over and turning your eyes, firmly, finally, towards the new horizon.

Skippy Strategy: When you know it really is over, the question is, “How do we get out with dignity?” Be realistic about the “why” of the situation – have that discussion – but always, always, always focus on the exit.