Author Archive

Twenty five years of America

I am back in the USA again twenty five years after my first visit and I have been here at least once a year since bar one (I missed 2016 for various reasons). Many of those visits have coincided with elections here and on this trip the mid-terms are pretty much decided, although here in Florida we have three significant posts all in the midst of recounts.

Perceptions from afar are not always reliable and it has been interesting to see that, despite the polarised views on the President, he and his party have done better than many previous incumbents on their first mid-term, the sainted Obama included.

I come here as a neutral, as I do wherever I go in the world, but my general observation is that there is a much greater feeling of energy here than there was through the last six years or so of the previous administration. Construction of new roads, housing and business premises is everywhere as are opportunities for employment.

Of course the extremes of left and right are at each other’s throats as they are back in the UK and much of the left’s ire is aimed at the President, but for the average people in the street there seems to be an ability to see past the figurehead and just relate to the traditional party lines.

The GOP have had an easy ride for the last two years to push through their political agenda so losing control of the House may slow them for the next two, but it is an odd thing here in the four year political cycle that the active part of each term is, in reality, much shorter. What happens in the first half of next year is going to be interesting. Hopefully whatever impact the slight shift in the balance of power has will not detract from the positive vibe of the last two years.


on negotiation, part four

The No Deal, or Walk Away, option is always there for both parties. Yes it is a last resort, but there are times when you cannot get a viable deal and walking away is the only way to go. It works best if you understand what the consequences are though.
In this example the company that I worked for had a contract with a client for a particular job to be performed on an ad-hoc basis. It worked well and the contract had been renewed several times, but the client had gone for a complete renewal proposal over about eighteen months and wanted to negotiate a deal for the job. As you might expect they were also looking at other contractors in case we had not the capacity for the job. Read more…

on negotiation, part three

One of the things I talked about last time was avoiding painting yourself into a corner because you need to keep at least one exit route available to you: Once you are trapped you are going to have to take whatever the other side offers. But whilst you want to avoid boxing yourself in it is to your advantage to help the other side doing it to themselves. Read more…

on negotiation, part two

One of the early lessons that I grasped in my management career was that you always needed to know what would happen if you did nothing. It may sound odd to an outsider, but a manager is always under pressure to do better and that requires change to some, or greater, degree and to do that you need to know what will happen if you do nothing.
When you go into a negotiation you also need be aware of what will happen if you fail to reach a deal. You will have your desired outcome, your concessions, your drop-dead option, your giveaways and your deal breakers and have a plan to work to. You will have all the intelligence that you can muster on the opposition and, once in the room, have your radar on as you probe and respond to their probes in return. Read more…

on negotiation, part one

The Brexit negotiations rumble on and regardless of where you stand on the UK leaving the EU I wonder if you have given any thought to the practicalities of those who are handling the problem from either side for it is not like any negotiation that I have ever seen or taken part in. Read more…

the generation gap

An incident this week illustrated the generation gap to perfection. I was at one of the sites that I work at on a regular basis and where, amongst the team of twenty or so, we have people from early twenties through to me in my seventh decade. The youngsters usually have some of their music on and down the years come my father’s words about the music I and my sisters enjoyed back in the sixties; “What a racket” or something similar. Read more…

the broom doesn’t work

October 7, 2018 1 comment

It was a dry, if cold, morning with barely a gentle breeze to disturb the bare trees and there was no excuse for our forecourt not to have been swept before seven thirty when the building starts to come alive for the day. It clearly had not been swept though and my enquiry as to why not was met with the response that forms the title for this blog; “The broom doesn’t work”. Moments like this are priceless for me. I have long had a keen sense of pleasure from the ridiculous things that life brings and with this for a start it looked like it was going to be a good day. Read more…