I recently read an article written by the legendary copywriter Drayton Bird.
He writes an amusing - and instructive - story about the time he was sent to a seminar in the US by his chairman.
On his return, the chairman asked what he had learned.
He thought for a moment, and then replied, "We must stop short term thinking and plan for long-term profits".
"Quite so, dear boy," replied the chairman. "And the best long-term profits are made up of a succession of short-term profits".
There is a lot of loose talk nowadays about strategy, mostly applied to something terribly simple and actually tactical, and equally often added to somebody's title to make them feel important. My view is that the minute you start to feel important you are in big trouble, but that is another subject.
That the long term is made up of a series of short term decisions is almost trite to say and obvious in the extreme, but without an eye on the long term maybe the short term can create a blindness to the potential problems our instinctive reactions to situations can create.
For the procurement director to beat down the supplier to a point were there is no interest by the latter to bring new ideas, ways of working, structural developments or creative concepts to the table could be shortsighted. For the supplier to price their new revolutionary products and services at such a level that the buyer is inclined to invest in alternatives, find a way to work around and feel generally unhappy may not foster good long term "partnership" relationships.
Not all negotiations have long-term strategic ramifications. Many do.
Have a plan.
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