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Published: Feb 08 , 2018
Author: John McMillan

A woman, let’s call her April June, knocks on a neighbour’s front door; let’s call her Angel Merkin. “Yes,” says Ms Merkin, “what do you want?”...

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Published: Dec 07 , 2017
Author: John McMillan

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 negotiations. In most negotiations the negotiator is not negotiating for their own benefit; they almost always represent a coalition of interests. If that coalition is united in its mandate to the negotiator, then she or he may have very little room to manoeuvre. Any concession beyond the mandate will have to go back to the coalition for approval. However, if there is disunity amongst the coalition then the negotiator’s ability to make a deal is fatally flawed...

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Published: Nov 23 , 2017
Author: John McMillan

A characteristic of business in the UK in recent years, and I suspect in other countries, is the removal of people from the interface between buyer and seller. In the place of the traditional face-to-face meeting is the RFI, the RFP and the E-auction. Indeed, some companies bar any direct communication between the department which has the need and the potential suppliers. As a senior buyer once...

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Savage and Goliath

I have gone from screaming rage to smug and calm in 24 hours. And I am glowing from what feels like a moral victory. But actually, what I have achieved is simply fairness. My adversary has not so much submitted, as seen a situation through a different lens, and shown some humility. My prize? An apology and £57.67 back. That’s all. The trophy though has been extricated from the UK’s largest utility company (not that I should name names), a £28 billion+ UK based company no less. This is no silver bullet for taking on the big guys, the Goliaths of this world. But there is a lesson or two to consider, to improve your chances, that we teach on our negotiation skills courses.

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