© Alan Smith

Gone to the Dogs

Published: Mar 14 , 2019
Author: Alan Smith

Despite my reluctance, we ended up getting a new dog three weeks ago (see picture above).

I said I didn’t want a puppy, for obvious and smelly reasons, my daughter asked me to define puppy? I should have seen it coming and avoided the obvious signal I know, but we now have a 10-month-old adolescent dog called Grouse! Not technically a puppy but still young, crazy and cute as a button.

Children are the best negotiators (even 23-year olds). When she suggested we get Grouse for a few days trial, no commitments, just to see if he would get on with our much older Labrador, the emotional trigger was pulled. I could not walk away from that deal under any circumstances.

The great thing about Grouse is that he has been trained for the gun. Not that I shoot, indeed I have a real problem with hunting, period. Why anyone would take pleasure from killing anything I do not know.

But he has been trained brilliantly and for once in my life, I have a dog that pretty much does as he is told. For now, at least.

He walks to heel, retrieves, comes to my side following 3 sharp blasts on a whistle and is generally well behaved around other dogs and certainly people. My intention is to keep that level of behaviour up, which requires lots more consistent training and effort from me and the whole family to ensure he not only continues to do what he can do now, but also continues to improve. Working dogs can get bored if they are not constantly stretched.

That is true of all of us when we build levels of skill and competence.

One of the biggest challenges we face as commercial negotiation skills trainers is how to ensure that the valuable lessons our participants take from our negotiation courses continue to be used and embedded into their daily negotiation practice.

We offer repeat training, online reinforcement, negotiating consultancy, coaching and deal workshops. But in reality, this form of training works best when it is constantly reinforced by the individual and the organisation.

Compliance is a critical factor when deciding to really shift behaviour.

The old Chinese proverb says:

Be careful of your thoughts, for your thoughts become your words. 
Be careful of your words, for your words become your actions. 
Be careful of your actions, for your actions become your habits. 
Be careful of your habits, for your habits become your character. 
Be careful of your character, for your character becomes your destiny

How you think about, talk about and act on negotiations within your organisation makes the difference in building strong commercial negotiators who do better long-term deals whilst reinforcing relationships.

Get it wrong or neglect to do the hard yards, and you’ll be barking up the wrong tree!!


Email Alan Smith on or phone him on 0777604212 to find out more about how we can help you negotiate more effectively.


Alan Smith

About the author:

Alan Smith
My background is marketing and advertising. After graduating in Economics I entered the agency world to become, at 28, MD of London's largest independent below-the-line marketing provider.

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