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Published: Mar 15 , 2018
Author: Alan Smith

“Remember to look at the stars not down at your feet” I was hugely saddened by the sad demise of Stephen Hawking this week but massively uplifted by, not only his life, but his wonderful approach to it and his ability to live it to the full in what most of us would see as terribly difficult circumstances.

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Published: Oct 26 , 2017
Author: Alan Smith

Since becoming a Scotwork consultant eight years ago, I have noticed a dramatic change in people’s behaviour; and it’s not just happening here at home – it’s a worldwide phenomenon. My grandmother (God bless her) would have thought we had all gone mad, walking around with white things in our ears talking, apparently, to ourselves. Now and in addition, with smartphones enabling us to text, Facebook and WhatsApp as well as just talk, more and more of us are reading our mobile phones as we walk. My youngest daughter (17) never...

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Published: Mar 03 , 2016
Author: Alan Smith

When are you at your most creative? It is a question I often ask in the classroom when I am running negotiation skills development classes. Two retorts I often hear are: “Why?” (people are reluctant to answer unless they know why I want to know, cynical bunch) or “When I am under extreme pressure.” Let’s look at these one by one...

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. Car rental companies define a day as any period up to 24 hours, so clients who want less than that still have to pay for the full 24 hours. So a ‘usual’ day becomes subverted into an ‘unusual’ day with a little creative thinking

Published: Sep 25 , 2014
Author: Stephen White

Imagine this scenario. You are driving through city streets as a passenger with a colleague at the wheel. He is driving faster than the speed limit, trying to get a meeting on time, and is involved in a minor accident; no one is hurt but the police are called. Passers-by who witnessed the event tell the police they think your colleague was speeding. He asks you to speak as a witness on his behalf; to testify that he wasn’t speeding. What would you do? The Universalist sees this problem in terms of the uniformity of the application of laws and regulations. The issues of loyalty and the attempt to be punctual for a meeting are irrelevant; if the law has been broken then the consequences should be suffered by all, notwithstanding special circumstances or relationships. The Particularist sees the same problem in terms of extenuating circumstances and relationships. No one got hurt, you know your colleague is usually a safe driver, being truthful may well affect the relationship with him and possibly impose a driving penalty on him as well....

Published: Aug 21 , 2014
Author: Tom Feinson

As ever it feels like little or no time has elapsed between the end of one season and the beginning of another. The World Cup serves to heighten those feelings, but here we are on the eve of new season, that blissful period where our hopes, dreams and aspirations are as yet undashed. The glorious “Transfer Window” (unless of course you are Southampton) enables teams to offload a dodgy left back or temperamental winger (should that be whinger) and land a top quality striker ‘Who is going to give us 30 goals a season’...

Published: Apr 18 , 2013
Author: Claudio Cubito

When the painter James McNeill Whistler was a cadet at West Point, he was assigned to draw a bridge in an engineering class. Whistler drew a spectacular bridge and included two boys fishing from it. His deliberate inclusion displeased the instructor, who ordered him to draw it again without the young fishermen on the bridge. Whistler did as he was instructed, but unwilling to completely stifle his vision; he drew the bridge again with the boys fishing from the riverbank.

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Who’d be Theresa May?

Honestly. She is on a hiding to nothing. It is terribly easy to carp and criticise from the sidelines; especially when you don’t have to get out of bed and go to negotiate. As someone...

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