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REAL-WORLD INSIGHTS

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Published: Jul 26 , 2021
Author: Brian Buck

As a negotiator, whenever the MLB trade deadline approaches, I pay attention! After all, negotiation is all about trading — giving something of lesser value in return for something of greater value. During trading season, general managers from all over baseball are looking to better their teams by doing just that. For some, it’s about winning this season; for others, it’s about winning in a future season. Regardless, the trade deadline forces ball clubs to make decisions about the direction in which they’re headed. I often wonder if having a trade deadline would help in our everyday negotiations?

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Published: Apr 27 , 2018
Author: Simon Letchford

I read a hilarious story recently about a guy who got into an argument with a supermarket when he tried to secure a refund on an opened tray of diced butternut squash, because when he bought it, he’d thought it was cheese. The author of the story was standing in line at the grocery store behind our brave Cheese Connoisseur, tweeting updates in real time as this guy dug himself deeper and deeper into a hole. He was determined to get a $2.97 refund on the tray, which the shop had clearly labeled “Butternut Squash”. The author noted that the obvious course of action for our protagonist would be to “stick the squash in the fridge, laugh at yourself and then go get some cheese”. But no – he argued for 15 minutes, failed, and then stormed out of the store, squash in hand - probably never to return. Apart from the sheer delightful stupidity of the argument, it reminded me how often we humans refuse to admit fault and move on, and then get deadlocked. And - for any organization that manages accounts (service teams and account management functions) - how often we find ourselves, like the unfortunate store staff, on the other side of the table from some idiot who wants you to pay for the fact that they can’t distinguish vegetables from dairy.

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Published: Apr 20 , 2017
Author: Alan Smith

Tommy Cooper was one of the funniest comedians ever. How do I know? Well partly because he has 13 of the best jokes in the top 50 gags of all time. A personal favourite being, “heard the one about two aerials meeting on a roof, falling in love, and getting married? The ceremony was rubbish but the reception was brilliant”. Telling a good joke is not just about the content. It is also in the timing of the delivery. The same could also be said about negotiation. Picking your time to enter into a negotiation can have a significant impact on its progression and your outcome.

Published: Jan 14 , 2016
Author: Stephen White

One of the defining qualities of a good negotiator is the ability to manufacture unusual tradeable variables apparently out of thin air. An example of this is how time is used as a variable. Most people would agree that a day comprises 24 hours. But management consultants know that a day in terms of charging fees is more likely to be 7 hours, so clients who need more than 7 hours find themselves paying for more than a day.

Published: Oct 16 , 2015
Author: Tom Feinson

Tesco’s travails over the last few months are many and varied. Recently they topped a grocers code adjudicator list for supplier complaints and in a recent survey only Iceland received a lower score from its suppliers, it must be cold there.

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Trick or Treat?

We’re a Halloween family. Love it! We decorate, we dress up, we get the biggest candy bars to hand out — the whole bit. Halloween is the Buck family’s jam. And every Halloween, kids (and some adults) flock to our front door armed with their canned question: “trick or treat?” Without fail, we respond with candy bars. Everyone smiles, most say, “Thank you,” and off they go into the night. That’s how it’s always gone . . . until last year, when we met an unusual trick-or-treater.

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