REAL-WORLD INSIGHTS

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Published: Aug 20 , 2015
Author: Alan Smith

A few years ago I was talking to a guy at a dinner party and he, in the effort to engage in small talk, asked me what I did for a living. When I told him that I trained and consulted in the area of negotiation skills he was intrigued but also fairly dismissive. His view was that he never negotiated. He always got his own way by simply making an ultimatum. His view was that agreeing to negotiate was a sign of weakness and that when dealing with his suppliers he simply told them what they had to do and they did it, or he went elsewhere...

Published: Jun 18 , 2015
Author: Stephen White

How many deadlines have been and gone in the continuing saga of the economic chaos in Greece? I would suggest there have been so many that we no longer believe that any of them really mattered – or ever will matter in the future. The crescendo of press speculation in recent days indicates yet again that the media believes we might be getting close to a crisis point. That is because Greece has a large repayment of debt – a tidy €1.6 billion - to make to the International Monetary Fund by June 30th, and there isn’t that much in the Greek coffers, so there is a real possibility that Greece will default that day, triggering the much publicised exit of Greece from the Eurozone, commonly known as the Grexit. Add to this the fact that in recent days, talks between the various parties have all but broken down...

Published: Jul 11 , 2013
Author: Robin Copland

As early as May this year, Lord Mandelson, the former business secretary and UK cabinet minister, warned that “a cabal at the top of the Labour national executive was trying to exert influence”, and that the Labour leader, Ed Miliband “was storing up danger for himself and for a future Labour government over parliamentary selections”. The row had blown up because Unite, the largest trade union in the UK, and in a move reminiscent of the Militant Tendency’s tactics in the 1970s and 80s, had quietly been infiltrating local labour constituency parties with their members by paying their membership fees en bloc. The union had specifically targeted seats where a selection was coming up...

Published: Jun 13 , 2013
Author: Mike Freedman

Taking a position in a conflict makes its resolution more difficult. And the more witnesses there are to that position-taking the less the likelihood of a negotiated settlement. In Istanbul positions have been taken in the most public sense possible in front of a global audience and I am not alone in fearing that a settlement is unlikely in the short-term. One thing we learn from watching thousands of hours of negotiation is that people either act or dig in NOT because of a complicated array of issues but usually for a SINGLE issue. Conversely, where many issues are raised these are generally some form of rationalisation of a single need or argument, or even a smoke screen. In Istanbul, the protestors’ single issue is that they feel that the government interferes with their personal choices and freedoms. The government, beneath the watchful eyes of the passive majority, feels a need not to be seen to have given in....

Published: Mar 02 , 2012
Author: Robin Copland

A recurring theme when you read about Ryanair’s negotiations – be they with aircraft manufacturers or airport operators – are the words “breakdown of negotiations”. The confrontational style that the airline seems to employ should not necessarily be knocked. It continues to buck the trend and return excellent operating results, but, as it is discovering, its negotiating partners seem less keen than hitherto to bow down and accept the tough proposals that the airline puts forward...

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The Power of Adjournments

Anjana – a sales leader with an IT firm – is busy preparing for negotiations with a large bank on renewing her firm’s contract with them. Given it is a decent sized deal, Anjana has been preparing for these negotiations over the last several days by interlocking with the account delivery teams, getting buy-ins from the senior leadership & CFO on commercials, getting a handle on the likely strategies from the competition etc. It is no surprise, given the rigour of her preparation, that Anjana was feeling confident about her meeting with the Client CIO.

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