REAL-WORLD INSIGHTS

Get the latest views and opinion from some of the most experienced negotiation specialists.

SIGN UP TO OUR BLOG

We value your privacy. For more information please refer to our Privacy Policy

party-food-tray.jpg

Published: Jan 03 , 2019
Author: Stephen White

The EU continue to claim that the withdrawal deal on the table – Mrs May’s deal – is non-negotiable, capable only of clarification but not of change. Is their refusal to budge from this position a ‘polite refusal’, which might change under pressure, or is it a final position? Look at some analogies. My favourite episode of The Vicar of Dibley was shown again over the holiday period. Geraldine, the eponymous vicar beloved by her congregants, is invited by several of them to their respective homes for Christmas Day lunch.

Time-for-Plan-B.jpg

Published: Nov 29 , 2018
Author: Stephen White

Two weeks left to go before the House of Commons votes on Theresa May’s EU Withdrawal plan. At this stage it is so highly unlikely that it will be approved that continuing to promote it, as she is with a nation-wide roadshow, looks like political suicide. So inevitably we see objectors to her plan offering their alternatives ever more stridently. The one in vogue as I write is Norway+. My purpose here is neither to commend nor attack her proposal or any of the ‘Plan B’suggestions. Rather it is to ask questions about the nature of Plan B options from a negotiator’s perspective. I suggest 5 issues which need to be considered...

empathy.jpg

Published: May 17 , 2018
Author: Stephen White

Many adjectives have been used to describe the attitudes of groupings which populate the further extremities of the political spectrum. Groupings like the Neo-cons and alt-right on the right and the Momentum movement on the left. In centrist circles, the adjectives used are mainly derogatory. One which is not widely used is Empathic. Which is a mistake.

Johanna-Konta.jpg

Published: Jul 13 , 2017
Author: Alan Smith

For two weeks of the year I become a bit of a tennis fan. These weeks coincide with the Wimbledon fortnight, possibly one of the most eagerly awaited tennis tournaments in the world. When I was much younger it was the time of year that my friends and I rushed off to the local tennis courts, usually empty, but now with queues of similarly ignited youths fancying a knock about. I thought I was pretty good until I actually played someone who played regularly, and realized I was useless. Lacked the skills to be honest, but probably didn’t have the mind set either. McEnroe-esque in my attitude and verbiage...

Dirty Tricks eBook.jpg

Published: May 04 , 2017
Author: Alan Smith

Lots of people see negotiating as a series of tricks, tactics and levers, something of a game designed to undermine confidence and wrest control. They can be creative, innovative even, and against the unskilled often effective. The problem with a tactical approach, though, is when you come up against a skilled opponent. Anybody who watched England play Italy in the recent six nations rugby championship will have seen the Italians adopt a tactical approach that Eddie Jones, the England coach suggested was not rugby, but basketball. A crazy aberration.

Theresa May giving a speech.jpg

Published: Jan 18 , 2017
Author: Stephen White

"That is why I have said before — and will continue to say — that every stray word and every hyped-up media report is going to make it harder for us to get the right deal for Britain." Theresa May has long repeated the mantra that she is not going to reveal the details of Britain’s Brexit negotiating tactics, because that would be poor negotiating practice. Yet in her speech on Tuesday she did just that. Here are some verbatim extracts – what deductions could you make from the highlighted words if you were a European bureaucrat charged with analysing Britain’s negotiating position...

mean businessman.jpg

Published: Jan 05 , 2017
Author: Stephen White

Like the conference speaker who has the misfortune to be given the slot immediately after a brilliant raconteur, 2017 is unlikely to be a ‘wow’ year, following on as it does from a humdinger 2016. Unlikely, but not impossible, and it certainly got off to a great start with the unexpected resignation of the UK’s Permanent Representative to the EU Sir Ivan Rogers, an event which would probably have been called PRexit if it wasn’t so easy to mishear. Not only did he surprise everyone with his impeccable timing - the first Brexit bombshell of the year – but in his swan song note to colleagues he laid into the Government for its appalling state of Brexit preparation...

Fair-Unfair-Blog.jpg

Published: Nov 24 , 2016
Author: Alan Smith

Two questions: When negotiating, do you want the other side to act reasonably? And, Is it a good strategy to be reasonable when negotiating? Most people will say yes to the first question. It would be crazy not to. The second however creates a bit more of a dilemma. We are sometimes tempted to go high or low, pad and exaggerate what we really anticipate being able to achieve. Because that is what we should do right?...

bees.jpg

Published: Nov 03 , 2016
Author: Robin Copland

Complicated negotiations often involve different meetings, different personnel, different issues and, in the case of the upcoming Brexit negotiations, different countries! The key word in this kind of negotiation is alignment and that involves a number of different factors and considerations. We can learn from the insect world; think bees! Perhaps first and foremost, there needs to be a central “go-to” point where all the information and meeting notes are collated and stored. It is vital to have a central hive of information that teams preparing for a new round of negotiation can reference. The old phrase, “singing off the same hymn sheet” has a certain resonance in this regard. The workers need a point of reference...

monkey.jpg

Published: Sep 29 , 2016
Author: Alan Smith

Tomorrow I have an appointment at the dentist. I can state with pretty much certainty and I admit comfort, that he knows something about teeth. Partly because the last time I went to see him with a damaged filling I left with it fixed, which frankly it would be difficult for someone without any knowledge of teeth to have resolved. Unless of course he had been very lucky that day and managed to wing it...

obama.jpg

Published: Mar 24 , 2016
Author: Stephen White

Why did President Putin suddenly and unexpectedly announce last week that Russia was pulling its armed forces out of Syria? It was an announcement that took every political commentator by surprise, and subsequently there were as many theories to explain the situation as there were commentators. Maybe he was bluffing, and not really pulling out at all. Maybe he couldn’t sustain the war effort financially. Maybe it was playing badly to his domestic audience. Maybe he had become irritated that the man he was supporting, President Assad, had become too arrogant after he discovered that Russia was to be an active ally...

bridge-river.jpg

Published: Mar 17 , 2016
Author: Alan Smith

Well there are actually! Negotiation involves cold logic, cutting through all the verbiage, careful and clear analysis of the volatile and unpredictable environment before coolly selecting the correct option. Problem is we rarely get the time when making the hundreds of decisions we need to make each day in the negotiations that we do in both our commercial and personal lives. Emotions play a huge part in the actions we take and to some extent the brains higher function has been argued is to sort out many of the choices we have already made and make sense of them after the fact...

Published: Aug 13 , 2015
Author: Stephen White

Last Wednesday evening was a bad time for two different groups of Londoners. At five o’clock the doors of several walk-in centres run by a high profile children’s charity called Kid’s Company closed for the last time, and thousands of children who depended on the charity for both physical and educational support were stranded. There had been suspicions about the financial affairs of this charity for some time – allegations that it was not well managed and that it was not in control of its finances. Central government was a major contributor and when the media picked up stories of financial irregularities they and other generous donors began to think twice about their funding. The final nail in the coffin came when allegations of sexual abuse of children on Kids Company premises were made; the privately donated money dried up completely, and because the charity had virtually no reserves it had to close. It is unlikely to re-open, at least in its present form. Just one hour later the iconic concertina gates at the entrance of many London tube stations were pulled closed because of a 24 hour strike called by the unions which serve the employees who work on the London Underground...

octopus.jpg

Published: Jul 02 , 2015
Author: Alan Smith

It used to be that people had so much time on their hands that they were forever looking for things to do to fill it. When I talk about wrestling with an octopus I am talking literally, not making an oblique negotiating reference about dealing with slippery salesmen or procurement slight of (many) hands. Throughout time people have been looking for ways to occupy themselves. In the 18th century, for example, fox-tossing was a popular event in Poland, in fact at one prestigious event 687 foxes and an assortment of badgers, hares and wildcats were tossed into the air using slings. Sounds fun, not!...

Published: Mar 28 , 2013
Author: The Scotwork Team

Over the weekend there were reports in the UK media that the multinational retailer Laura Ashley had written to its suppliers requesting an immediate 10% cost price reduction on all orders already agreed and contracted. The demand was accompanied by a statement that this would save Laura Ashley the need to review its supplier base – in other words, failure to agree would prompt such a review, and some suppliers would inevitably be delisted as a result...

Published: Oct 26 , 2012
Author: Alan Smith

On Sunday last week an Austrian skydiver, Felix Baumgartner, jumped from space. He set a world record for the highest jump, at 39km, and the fastest human free-fall, at 1,342km/h. Just to give some context, a Boeing 747 travels at about 917km/h. Pretty quick. The man broke the sound barrier. The planning and preparation that went into the event was staggering...

Published: Sep 22 , 2012
Author: Stephen White

Within the last few days the Obama administration have made it clear that they consider the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian Assad regime on their own civilians to be a red line. What they mean is that if the Syrian government uses chemical weapons, they will have crossed the red line, diplomacy will have come to an end, and military action will follow. Similarly, in neighbouring Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu has chided the US administration for not setting a red line on the subject of the Iranian development of nuclear weapons....

Published: Dec 09 , 2011
Author: Alan Smith

In the late 1950s, a journalist asked incumbent British prime minister Harold Macmillan what he considered was most likely to blow his government off course. In an answer that has gone down in history — perhaps as much for its Edwardian construction as its content — Macmillan replied, “Events, dear boy, events.” This response hits at a fundamental truth. Things do change rapidly, and when one is least expecting them to do so...

Latest Blog:

‘The Shakers’ Are Buried!

If you’re a keen football fan, then you will have seen the unfortunate story unfold of Bury Football Club failing to secure investment, and thus having to finally close their turnstiles on 29 August 2019 - RIP Bury FC. Bury F.C. was inspired by Aiden Arrowsmith, a local enthusiast of two local Bury church football teams. In 1885 Arrowsmith proposed them joining together and creating Bury F.C, so they leased some land at ‘Gigg Lane’ from the Earl of Derby and the rest they say is history.

Latest Tweet:

Scotwork UK Limited
7 Fortrose St
Glasgow
G11 5NU
United Kingdom
+44 (0) 1413573989
info@scotwork.com
Follow us
Scotwork 21092 - Training Course.png
award 2.jpg
award 1.jpg