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…

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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…

improving the breed


For some years now the concept of continuous improvement has been embedded into management culture. We have had all the Japanese influences, lean manufacturing (and then lean everything else, except, perhaps, in management speak where fat is good it would seem), and so there is a general willingness to work towards improving product and process. Some of this is disguised in the throwaway culture we have with cars, white goods and technology where as soon as you have bought the latest the next generation is announced, but there is one area where improving the breed seems to be not just overlooked, but is sometimes supressed. Read more…

the boss is loose in the building


It was a message that would reach me from time to time in my first major operational role. Out of a workforce of around 700 on site around two thirds of them worked for me and for “The Boss”, who normally only moved from the main entrance to his office and back with the occasional foray to the gents, the canteen or the conference room, to be roaming was both unusual and dangerous. Read more…

Mistakes are where you learn


Although I don’t do much in the small business sector I do still keep in touch if for no other reason than that I am a small business and one of the topics that often comes up is the problems that small businesses face in not getting paid, either on time or at all. It is a perennial problem, so I’ll share here one of the times that I allowed myself to get screwed. Read more…