REAL-WORLD INSIGHTS

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Published: Nov 02 , 2017
Author: Tom Feinson

Recently Uber boss Travis Kalanick took an “indefinite leave of absence”. A phrase that coexists in the big book of signals next to “spending more time with the family” and just after “you have my 100% support”. True to form he has subsequently resigned. The…

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Published: Oct 05 , 2017
Author: Alan Smith

Just how do you listen to music these days? From the metal cylinder used to create the first recorded track, through vinyl, iPods and now the on-line streaming experience, music fans now have literally millions of tracks and songs available to listen to in hundreds of different ways. I know there has been something of a revival of vinyl, my daughter asked for a turntable for her 17th birthday. I had a temporary moment of cool when I retrieved a number of albums from the loft. Dark Side of the Moon was the first album I ever bought. Sadly, David Cassidy’s How Can I be Sure was my first single.

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Published: Aug 17 , 2017
Author: Robin Copland

Something interesting happened at the Athletics World Championships last week. Well, actually and to be fair, lots of interesting things happened. Mo Farah kept up his astonishing record by winning the Gold Medal in the 10000 meters. Sadly for him, he had to make do with a Silver in the 5000 meters race. Time finally caught up with Usain Bolt as he could only manage a Bronze Medal in the 100 meters and injury in the 4 x 100 meters relay during his last race. Justin Gatlin, who has been banned not once, but twice for using performance-enhancing drugs, won the 100 meter Gold Medal. 30 athletes and support staff fell victim to a suspected outbreak of norovirus...

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Published: Aug 03 , 2017
Author: Robin Copland

The United Kingdom’s flagship carrier has been British Airways since the merger of British European Airways (BEA) and British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) in 1974. It has had a few ups and downs. In the 70's and early 80's, its reputation was patchy but from the mid-1980's for possibly the next ten to fifteen years, the airline became a genuine contender for the accolade “Best Airline in the World”. Indeed, one of its advertising straplines from the time was the “World’s Favorite Airline”.

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Published: Jul 20 , 2017
Author: Stephen White

Theresa May’s speech on Tuesday last week urging her political enemies to ‘contribute and not just criticize was met by a barrage of exactly the criticism she was asking them to eliminate. A Labor spokesperson said that it showed that the Conservatives had completely run out of ideas and were now reduced to begging, and the Scottish Nationalists line was that if she was serious about collaboration, particularly on Brexit, then she should have offered the SNP a seat at the Brexit negotiations, as they have been demanding for the last year.

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Published: Jul 06 , 2017
Author: Alan Smith

A couple of times over the last week I have been told by prospect clients, that whilst they suspect they get involved in negotiations, they are not quite sure if they are negotiating or not. It seemed to them that all they had to do was discover the optimal position that could be agreed by all parties and that would inevitably win the day. This struck me as both being a bit idealistic and also somewhat soft. The optimal position may indeed mean that I do not meet my, or my organisations best case. Worse still who decides what the optimal position is? Me, them or some arbitrary power?

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Published: Jun 29 , 2017
Author: Sebastian Bacewicz

When is a ‘generous offer’ not a generous offer? A few answers spring immediately to mind: for example, when a better offer is already on the table (yet - worryingly - completely ignored), or when the proposer feels the need to tell you that their offer is, indeed, very generous. I mean, if the offer is truly generous, why the need to tell you so? Surely, it will be clear for all to see? One may also argue that the "generous offer" is not really generous when it concerns the lives of a few million people and falls significantly short of what is expected both by the other side and the people in question.

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Published: Jun 22 , 2017
Author: Stephen White

In his excellent book Homo Deus Yuval Harari describes an experiment conducted by Daniel Kahneman, who won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2002. A group of volunteers were asked to take part in a ‘short’ experiment - they were to place one hand into a bowl of water at an exact 14C (cold enough to be quite unpleasant) for 60 seconds. The same group were also asked to take part in a ‘long’ experiment – to place their other hand in a bowl of water at 14C for 90 seconds. However, unknown to the volunteers, a small amount of warmer water was added to this bowl in the last 30 seconds which raised the temperature to a slightly warmer 15C. Some did the ‘short’ experiment first, others did the ‘long’ experiment first...

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Published: Jun 01 , 2017
Author: 

The dilemmas continue in Part 2: Do we make the first proposal or respond? Do we bluff or not? And how do we define a good deal? Propose or Respond This is a source of much debate among negotiators. There is a view that those who hesitate longest, win. Making the first proposal is seen as a sign of weakness. While this may be true in some isolated situations, there is a general view supported by academic research that making the first proposal provides a number of distinct advantages. Making the first proposal allows you to set the agenda for the negotiation. It also allows you to effectively anchor the negotiation at your most favored price point within the bargaining arena. So forget the image of the Mississippi riverboat gamblers waiting for the other party to break first and seize the initiative in the negotiation by making the first proposal.

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Published: Apr 27 , 2017
Author: Stephen White

In her most recent movie The Last Word Shirley McLaine plays a crabby old rich-woman control freak, founder of a successful advertising agency in her early years, now contemplating her demise. She commissions her own obituary needing to know what it will look like. But she has been a crabby control freak all her life; from her ex-husband to her estranged daughter and her scarred work colleagues and ‘friends’ no-one has a good word to say about her. So with the help of the obituary writer she embarks on a project to redeem her reputation with those who dislike her so much...

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Published: Mar 23 , 2017
Author: Robin Copland

Just when is a deal not a deal…? I heard this story from a friend of mine the other week; there are some lessons to be learned! So, my pal is a developer and is building some houses on what is essentially a square site. Two sides of the square can be accessed from the road in a neighboring housing estate and the other two are beside a field owned by another developer. There is a huge pile of muck to shift before the actual building project; this phase is known in the trade – and not unreasonably - as a "muck-shift"! As there will be 80 -100 lorries coming in and out each day for 6 weeks, it was considered more convenient to access the site over the field, so an approach was made to the developer to discuss the terms under which he would allow access. This is a standard arrangement and the deal typically is that the field would be returned to the owner in its original condition. Developer makes a bit of money, where otherwise he wouldn’t; homeowners in the adjoining estate are less inconvenienced; builder does not need to spend money cleaning the streets and getting them back to a usable state at the end of the project. Win-win.

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Published: Mar 16 , 2017
Author: Stephen White

Dear Donald I am writing because you might have seen some scurrilous press speculation that the UK has decided to leave the European Union. FAKE NEWS!! The truth is that we have had a referendum and some subsequent discussions in Parliament which overwhelmingly demonstrated with certainty that the country is split as to whether to stay or go. 52% of the population want to leave, 48% want to stay, and 93% are undecided. Because this gives me a clear choice of mandates I am advising you that this letter is intended to trigger Article 50, which apparently enables us to leave unless we change our minds because we can’t agree a deal, or we agree a deal we don’t agree with, or because you have changed the constitution of the EU in the meantime.

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Published: Feb 02 , 2017
Author: Alan Smith

It has been an interesting few weeks for Theresa May. A bit of a Chinese curse that, to always live in interesting times. Firstly, she has had to deal with the new US president, where I find it hard to believe that Trump holds any attraction to her, no matter how opposite he is. Then there was the potential ban on Sir Mo Farah travelling to the US, averted by of all people, ex rival Boris Johnson.

Published: Oct 14 , 2016
Author: Robin Copland

What do Ben & Jerry's ice cream, Pot Noodles, Persil, Dove soap and Marmite have in common? They are all made by Unilever. What does Unilever and Tesco have in common? Dave Lewis, Tesco’s current boss, spent most of his career at Unilever before being poached by Tesco. What does all of this have to do with negotiating? Well, having been in a stand-off that threatened to damage both parties, heads were banged together on Thursday 13 October and a deal was done. We at Scotwork have constantly maintained that external factors are the most common cause of the kinds of conflicts that need negotiated solutions and what happened between Tesco and Unilever is a classic example.

Published: Nov 12 , 2015
Author: David Bannister

I wrote in this blog about three weeks ago about the commitment given by the UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, to write to the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, setting out the demands which the UK would make in its negotiations with the EU prior to a referendum of the British people some time before the end of 2017 which will decide if the UK remains a member of the EU.

Published: Jan 16 , 2014
Author: Stephen White

There are interminable lists of top negotiating dos and don’ts available on the internet, in books, and on training courses. They mainly contain pieces of sensible, if obvious, advice about how negotiators should conduct themselves. You may have read some of these lists, and you may even have been moved to try some of the tips. You certainly don’t need to see another one.

Published: Oct 05 , 2012
Author: Stephen White

One of the most commented upon blogs we have posted this year is the one we published on the frustration many suppliers feel when they are in receipt of client RFPs. Comments came from suppliers in agreement of the sentiment and many buyers about the bias in the writing....

Published: Sep 28 , 2012
Author: Robin Copland

There is more and more emphasis on the bottom line. Negotiators are getting ever more ruthless in their search for a “better deal” and sometimes the old “win-win” mantra is lost in the stampede. One of the tactics we see most often used by – and sometimes against – clients is the late introduction of a procurement specialist to a negotiation. In many cases, this person is introduced rather shamefacedly by the regular negotiator; the excuse is given that they are just there to cast a paternal eye over proceedings and check that the deal is watertight....

Published: Sep 14 , 2012
Author: David Bannister

"Put yourself in my shoes!" said trade union official who was role-playing to help some course participants practise their skills. I was reminded of this when, recently on holiday, I was reading a very enjoyable book called "The Bank of Dave". The book tells the story of a Lancastrian entrepreneur and millionaire called David Fishwick who decided that banks had all got rather too big for their boots and so he chose to open a bank of his own to service deposits and loans in his home town of Burnley (if you haven’t read it, it’s really good!)...

Published: Aug 31 , 2012
Author: Alan Smith

Virgin Trains aimed to shake up the railway business when it took over the West Coast mainline. Now, having lost the franchise to FirstGroup, are they tasting sour grapes or being genuine in their belief that FirstGroup are unable to deliver on their pitch?

Published: Aug 24 , 2012
Author: Alan Smith

When my kids were much younger we had a standard gag. I would ask them what time is it when an elephant sits on your fence? The answer was clearly time to get a new fence. Timing is indeed everything. A similar question could be asked right now with the World’s biggest sporting event still receiving plaudits from around the Globe (except of course the French), as perhaps the best ever Olympic games...

Published: Aug 10 , 2012
Author: David Bannister

Some years ago, I was teaching a management course in the Far East. My words were to be consecutively interpreted to the class so I had to send all my material for translation in advance. One of the exercises I used was a version of the ‘Prisoner’s Dilemma’, a game where the participants’ integrity is challenged and where they can be tempted to try to gain advantage over other participants by saying one thing and then doing something else to ‘win’ the game...

Published: Aug 03 , 2012
Author: Sam Macbeth

I’ve enjoyed watching the Olympics this week. I have also found the debate that has raged about the number of empty seats to be interesting as well. Disgruntled members of the public had tried and failed on several occasions to buy tickets – only to see that there have been numerous empty seats in the stadia during the first week of the Games. Several commentators have complained that LOCOG (the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games) have had “seven years to avoid this situation”.

Published: Jul 27 , 2012
Author: Alan Smith

There is no doubt that much of what we learn is from experience. In fact the university of life, with all of its hard knocks, creates valuable lessons. The key is do we adjust our behaviour on the back of what is thrown at us. This week I have been running a couple of training courses in Bangkok. My first trip to the area, and I heartily recommend it. Great food, wonderful weather (at least the rain here is warm) and the people are friendly and generous hosts. For the westerner in this part of the world another attraction is the markets...

Published: Jul 20 , 2012
Author: Stephen White

There is a sweet story about an elderly man who is woken at 3.00am by his wife, who can hear strange noises outside the house. He opens the bedroom curtains and sees robbers stealing some of his stuff from the shed at the bottom of the garden. He calls the emergency line, explains what he can see, and asks for police assistance immediately. ‘Are they actually in your house?’ asks the operator. ‘No’, he says, ‘I’ve told you. They are in the shed at the bottom of the garden’. ‘We don’t have anyone available at the moment,’ says the operator ‘but we will send someone along within 2 hours’. The man puts the phone down, waits thirty seconds, and calls back to the police....

Published: Jul 20 , 2012
Author: Stephen White

There is a sweet story about an elderly man who is woken at 3.00am by his wife, who can hear strange noises outside the house. He opens the bedroom curtains and sees robbers stealing some of his stuff from the shed at the bottom of the garden. He calls the emergency line, explains what he can see, and asks for police assistance immediately. 'Are they actually in your house?' asks the operator. 'No', he says, 'I've told you. They are in the shed at the bottom of the garden'. 'We don't have anyone available at the moment,' says the operator 'but we will send someone along within 2 hours'.

Published: Jul 06 , 2012
Author: Alan Smith

I know I am getting on but it used to be that along with the doctor and the local bobby, the bank manager was one of the few people in whom you could put your faith that he would do the right thing. He would sign your passport photos, offer sage words of solid advice about the mortgage and generally be seen to be one of the go-to guys when you really needed it. Not any more...

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DUPed

Two’s company; 27’s a crowd. It may be tricky negotiating with a single party, but when there are 27 divergent interests on the other side of the table it becomes even harder. That is just part of the challenge that the UK Government has in their Brexit…

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