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No Alarm & No Surprises

Horace McDonald
Negotiation Birthday [Converted]
© Adobe Stock

Negotiations are made up of several issues/variables most of which have a different value to each party. We define negotiation as a process by which parties in conflict adjust their positions, by trading issues of lesser importance in exchange for issues of greater importance, because the agreement must be implemented by all parties. At Scotwork we ask participants in their planning to differentiate their issues between what we call their ‘must haves’ and ‘intends’. The former are effectively deal breakers, for illustration, if in the deal the minimum you can live with is a two-year contract, any deal that ends up at less than two years means that the deal cannot be done, whereas if you have greater flexibility on the contract length then you could be in a position to accept less than two years on the basis that you would use items from your wish list to ameliorate this reduction, e.g. give them what they want on terms that are acceptable to you.

I was thinking about this having celebrated a very significant birthday two weekends ago. It was a bit of an up and down day as it started with huge joy as I was sent videos from two Crystal Palace players wishing me a Happy Birthday, my team then proceeding to lose to Luton Town for whom it was their first home win of the season and culminating in a rather wonderful party attended by over 100 guests.

Having sorted the venue, the food and drinks and the music, the next issue was how to manage the presents situation. I am a difficult person to buy for. We also advise that in a negotiation you are clear on what you want and on your non-negotiables, and I wanted to ensure that I didn’t receive presents I neither want nor needed, (in this case booze and books, I’m a Kindle person). Thus, I sent out specific instructions to the invitees. Not surprisingly, much as negotiations rarely go as originally planned, my instructions were not followed to the letter. I got some booze and a couple of books, but for the most part, my guests used their imaginations to great effect and I was given a number of great presents of things I neither thought I needed nor wanted, but are still delightful. A few people took the easier option and bought me (as advised by my wife) gift vouchers from a rather splendid department store.

Having vowed not to go back to physical music having thrown away all my vinyl and CDs many years ago, I’ve committed yet another volte-face and have used the vouchers to purchase a rather expensive turntable (thankfully I don’t need any other equipment) and am starting a process of buying albums and know I’ll get some for Christmas. The biggest beneficiaries in this change of heart are my children, as they now have more present buying options for me.

Unconnected to the band referenced above, the Stones sang ‘ You Can’t Always Get What You Want’, but if you set your stall out early, you can mitigate and reduce the things you don’t want by providing the right information, painful though that can appear…

Horace McDonald
More by Horace McDonald:
Man ‘O’ Man
The Joshua Fee
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