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Flex and Flexibility

Published: Jan 30 , 2020
Author: Sam Macbeth

As I write this, the Coronavirus continues to spread – creating untold human misery, the price for which cannot be negotiated.

The virus will already be creating different kinds of change; increased need for protection, medicine and support along with the basics that human beings need. Now, ‘change’ can be a catalyst for negotiating, and in this sense, it could take different forms:

Firstly, there are those opportunistic commercial organisations who may be tempted to profiteer from a short-term power increase in supply and demand (hotels charging more when people are stranded in bad weather?), outweighed most probably by a long-lasting damaging change in public perception after the event.

Secondly, the indirect pressure arising from large and small current Chinese related commercial deals; for example, the impact on online and traditional retailers – the item, manufactured in China, that you ordered with a delivery of two weeks for a particular occasion may now arrive late or even possibly be cancelled altogether. This might naturally force greater pressure down the supply chain where margins and cash flow can already be stretched – with the natural associated consequences….

From a negotiating perspective, flexibility is key – both in planned and unplanned scenarios.

Where possible, we need to have a Plan B for our planned negotiations when new information or events block our way - in our global Capability Survey of over 5,000 people, 30% of executives never or only occasionally have a back-up plan for their negotiations (you can download the survey here).

When unplanned situations present a new opportunity; go back to your longer-term objectives – are these still compatible with any short-term initiatives you might be considering? what are the risks – tangible or intangible? act accordingly. Keep the dialogue going (no-one has all the answers, all the time), be receptive to new ideas and ways of working to overcome the issues.

Whilst people constantly miss lots of opportunities to negotiate (a fact also borne out in our study), bear in mind that there are some things for which the over-arching objectives (preserving human life) which really should remain non-negotiable.


Are you at an impasse? Are you facing deadlocked deals?

Do you need to breathe new life into your negotiation situation? We are here to help! We can be your advisor, your coach, and your trainer. Whether you bring us in to create your strategy or help you prepare, or develop your team’s negotiating skills, we can help you win at the negotiating table.

We’ve been consulting and teaching our proven negotiation methodology for over 40 years. We know the process, we can identify the skills required, and we have the techniques to negotiate better deals for you. Call us and let’s discuss what we might be able to do for you.

Talk to one of our experts today.



About the author:

Sam Macbeth
As a Senior Consultant I advise clients on our training and consultancy and deliver our negotiating programmes. Before joining Scotwork, I was a Regional Manager with a former subsidiary of BP – developing and supplying environmental products and services within Europe, Asia and Russia.

Read more about Sam Macbeth

More posts by Sam Macbeth

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