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Published: May 13 , 2019
Author: Brian Buck

This past week, I was working with a sourcing team. We were developing a variety of negotiation strategies to help them formulate better deals with their suppliers. We ran some mock negotiations to put these new strategies to the test. In one particular simulation, we did a multilateral negotiation among three parties: the sourcing team, a supplier, and an internal business partner. The sourcing team was attempting to negotiate a deal with the supplier on behalf of the business partner. We had all three parties meeting together to work out a deal — which they narrowly did. Exhausted from the intense exercise, one of the participants made an observation about the process that changed the way that I analyze negotiations.

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Published: Feb 09 , 2018
Author: Brian Buck

A few years back I wanted to send my wife flowers on Valentine’s Day. In fact, the message on the flowers would kick off a Valentine’s Day scavenger hunt which would lead my wife to me at our favorite restaurant. However, when Valentine’s Day arrived, the flowers I ordered were never delivered. Worst yet, because the flowers kicked off the scavenger hunt, my wife was left wondering where I was on Valentine’s Day! Needless to say, the evening didn’t go as planned. We eventually reconnected at the restaurant. As we had a laugh and a few drinks over the hunt that never was, I was already planning my complaint to the florist. What happened next was astonishing...

Published: May 07 , 2015
Author: Stephen White

On the day this blog is published the population of the UK vote in elections for their next government. Opinion polls put the two main parties neck and neck, with neither commanding a strong enough following to win an outright majority. So the result is likely to be a minority government which will have to form a coalition or make deals with the handful of minor parties in order to be able to govern. Even if there is an outright majority for one party the margin will be so small that alliances will need to be forged for effective government to survive...

Published: May 25 , 2012
Author: Alan Smith

The psychological profile has been a weapon of war, espionage, diplomacy and negotiation since time began. Can we get inside the other side's head and use that information to defeat him. Sun Tzu, the Chinese military strategist, believed that a firm understanding of the other side's mental make up was a prerequisite for victory: "If you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles".

Published: Feb 17 , 2012
Author: Alan Smith

A sales director was playing a game of golf with the procurement director from his largest and most prestigious client. During the round the course ran adjacent to a small road. As the pair drove off on the 8th a hearse started to slowly make its way along the lane and would eventually pass the men.

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Jumping the Shark

My client was sharing with me a negotiation he was involved in that was, as he put it, “jump the shark” worthy. He was very enthusiastic about it. In fact, he was hopeful that it was going to lead to more opportunities for him. He said his client thought the negotiation was “jump the shark” worthy too. As I listened to his positivity and enthusiasm, I started to realize that his definition of “jump the shark” is very different from mine. Quoting Inigo Montoya from The Princess Bride, I told him, “I don’t think that phrase means what you think it means.” A panicked expression came across his face as he realized what it meant for his negotiation, and he quickly transitioned into techniques for avoiding the sharks altogether.

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