REAL-WORLD INSIGHTS

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Published: Jul 13 , 2017
Author: Alan Smith

For two weeks of the year I become a bit of a tennis fan. These weeks coincide with the Wimbledon fortnight, possibly one of the most eagerly awaited tennis tournaments in the world. When I was much younger it was the time of year that my friends and I rushed off to the local tennis courts, usually empty, but now with queues of similarly ignited youths fancying a knock about. I thought I was pretty good until I actually played someone who played regularly, and realized I was useless. Lacked the skills to be honest, but probably didn’t have the mind set either. McEnroe-esque in my attitude and verbiage...

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Published: May 04 , 2017
Author: Alan Smith

Lots of people see negotiating as a series of tricks, tactics and levers, something of a game designed to undermine confidence and wrest control. They can be creative, innovative even, and against the unskilled often effective. The problem with a tactical approach, though, is when you come up against a skilled opponent. Anybody who watched England play Italy in the recent six nations rugby championship will have seen the Italians adopt a tactical approach that Eddie Jones, the England coach suggested was not rugby, but basketball. A crazy aberration.

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Published: Jan 18 , 2017
Author: Stephen White

"That is why I have said before — and will continue to say — that every stray word and every hyped-up media report is going to make it harder for us to get the right deal for Britain." Theresa May has long repeated the mantra that she is not going to reveal the details of Britain’s Brexit negotiating tactics, because that would be poor negotiating practice. Yet in her speech on Tuesday she did just that. Here are some verbatim extracts – what deductions could you make from the highlighted words if you were a European bureaucrat charged with analysing Britain’s negotiating position

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Published: Jan 05 , 2017
Author: Stephen White

Like the conference speaker who has the misfortune to be given the slot immediately after a brilliant raconteur, 2017 is unlikely to be a ‘wow’ year, following on as it does from a humdinger 2016. Unlikely, but not impossible, and it certainly got off to a great start with the unexpected resignation of the UK’s Permanent Representative to the EU Sir Ivan Rogers, an event which would probably have been called PRexit if it wasn’t so easy to mishear. Not only did he surprise everyone with his impeccable timing - the first Brexit bombshell of the year – but in his swan song note to colleagues he laid into the Government for its appalling state of Brexit preparation

Published: Nov 24 , 2016
Author: Alan Smith

Two questions: When negotiating, do you want the other side to act reasonably? And, Is it a good strategy to be reasonable when negotiating? Most people will say yes to the first question. It would be crazy not to. The second however creates a bit more of a dilemma. We are sometimes tempted to go high or low, pad and exaggerate what we really anticipate being able to achieve. Because that is what we should do right?...

Published: Nov 03 , 2016
Author: Robin Copland

Complicated negotiations often involve different meetings, different personnel, different issues and, in the case of the upcoming Brexit negotiations, different countries! The key word in this kind of negotiation is alignment and that involves a number of different factors and considerations. We can learn from the insect world; think bees! Perhaps first and foremost, there needs to be a central “go-to” point where all the information and meeting notes are collated and stored. It is vital to have a central hive of information that teams preparing for a new round of negotiation can reference. The old phrase, “singing off the same hymn sheet” has a certain resonance in this regard. The workers need a point of reference.

Published: Jan 28 , 2016
Author: Alan Smith

My daughter is a fairly recent and slightly nervous driver. One of the benefits of the children getting older is that sporadically Dad’s cabs get a Saturday off, and even an occasional lift home from the pub after a couple of cheeky sherbets on a Friday night.

Published: Sep 22 , 2012
Author: Stephen White

Within the last few days the Obama administration have made it clear that they consider the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian Assad regime on their own civilians to be a red line. What they mean is that if the Syrian government uses chemical weapons, they will have crossed the red line, diplomacy will have come to an end, and military action will follow. Similarly, in neighbouring Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu has chided the US administration for not setting a red line on the subject of the Iranian development of nuclear weapons....

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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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