Competitive stances breed competitive stances

Published: May 29 , 2015
Author: Robin Copland

A friend of mine is a specialist clothes manufacturer – I do not want to say more than that for fear of identifying him - who, when he opened his factory thirty years ago, was fairly desperate to get one or two big clients to underwrite his business in the first few unsteady years.  Fortunately for him, he found a few, one of whom was and is a well-known high street retailer in the UK.

Now, this company has exacting standards.  I used to be in the hotel business and I well remember that we hosted their annual staff dinner one year.  Two or three weeks before the function, the head of HR arrived completely unannounced demanding to “inspect the hotel kitchens”; this, mind you, during an 800-guest Burns supper service.  The hotel’s executive chef, perhaps more from the Gordon Ramsay than the Michel Roux school of management, told him robustly where he might like to park his “inspection” – much to the amusement of all present, it has to be said.

Anyhow, back to my friend, who was treated in a similarly cavalier fashion by said retailer.  Factory inspections were commonplace; late changes to previously agreed orders; payment held up for some minor administrative error that, needless to say, was not brought to his attention until late in the payment cycle; returned goods for no good reason.  Those of you who deal with these kinds of customers may recognize the symptoms.

None of this sat well with my friend and, to be fair, you do not take the kinds of risks that he took if you don’t have a bit of a backbone.  He simmered and bided his time.  His one ambition eventually was to get rid of his troublesome customer.  Come the day that he felt able, he took great delight in travelling to their office in the South of England, unannounced, and told his contact in no uncertain terms that he was done with them and that they could look elsewhere for supplies for the next season.  No cajoling or threats from them had any effect on him; the boot was firmly on the other foot.

Was this sensible behavior?  He cheerfully admits not, but was he satisfied?  You bet he was!

Negotiators need to beware.  If they bully their opposite numbers and behave aggressively, they may win in the short term, but, in the long term, they may lose a valuable partner.

Competitive stances breed competitive stances.

Robin Copland


SHARE

blogAuthor

About the author:

Robin Copland
No bio is currently avaliable

Latest Blog:

On the Ropes

The car-crash interview of Diane Abbott on LBC Radio (if you haven’t heard it yet, listen here) was the first of many I expect we will hear during the election process. For as long as politicians are poorly briefed, manifesto promises incorrectly costed with policies not properly thought through they will struggle in the face of good interviewers whose goal is to catch them out on data issues and produce cringe-making sound bites for the entertainment of the public. Laura Kuenssberg’s seven-time question to Jeremy Corbyn about his commitment to take the UK out of the EU whatever the deal achieved at the end of the two year negotiation in her interview with him on Tuesday (the data-answer to which was a simple Yes or No) left Corbyn looking unsure of his own policy, and was the segment of the interview that led the news at the expense of focusing on Labor Party policy announcements...

Latest Tweet:





United States
973.428.1991
usa@scotwork.com
Follow us
cpd.png
voty2016_sign_gold.png