Negotiating your way to success
29 October 2012 2:39am
WE’RE a nation of innovators and inventors, we’re told. The march of the makers, the white heat of technological innovation, the slogans roll off the tongues off our politicians in a constant barrage of optimism – close to or devoid of reality, depending on your view.
But we’re not a nation of negotiators. Or so says recent research by YouGov and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), commissioned by legendary corporate problem-solver Clive Rich. The CEBR analysed responses to a survey by 1,000 senior UK managers, and concluded that UK firms are losing up to £17bn a year through antiquated negotiation skills.
But what does this mean? Negotiation is clearly critical to anyone in business – from the freshest young start-up entrepreneur to the crustiest corporate grandee. Effective negotiation with suppliers or clients can broaden profit margins, break open new markets, or secure new investment in your firm. Poor negotiation could mean that, however good your product or service, your best efforts are left languishing on the shelf.
There’s no need to be too concerned, however. I recently had dinner with a hugely successful young entrepreneur, unlikely to win any prizes at charm school. But he had ideas, financial nous, and ambition. Crucially, he had assembled the perfect combination of personalities to successfully build his business from bottom up.
As Rich concludes in the preface to his research, “collaboration and partnerships are vital to business success.” Success in a capitalist market economy of course requires a degree of macho competitiveness – a take what you need attitude. But as Rich’s research shows, equally important is nimbleness, subtlety, and a willingness to adapt – whether at the negotiating table, or in choosing the right spectrum of personalities for your team. Don’t worry if you can’t negotiate. Just make sure you know someone who can.
Tom Welsh is business features editor at City A.M.
In other news
A group of Tesco shareholders seeking compensation from the supermarket say they have a “strong case” against [Read more]
Yahoo will face a US class action lawsuit alleging wiretapping violations of emails sent to its users from non-Yahoo [Read more]
Barclays, the international London-based bank led by Antony Jenkins, has decided to put its broking mandate up [Read more]
The EU referendum is on; taxes will be locked in at current levels and strike laws are being reformed. The Queen's [Read more]
The Queen's Speech - the first full-Tory state opening of Parliament since 1996 - has come and gone. But what [Read more]
Former Thomas Cook boss Harriet Green has said she'll donate a third of her forthcoming share award to a charity [Read more]
Update: Firefighters have put out a blaze at a Berkeley Homes building site on Arsenal Way, Woolwich this afternoon. [Read more]
Greece's creditors have poured cold water on the cash-strapped country's claim that the parties were nearing a [Read more]
The EU and Switzerland have signed a deal to stop EU residents holding undeclared income in Swiss bank accounts. [Read more]
A random combination of words and characters are automatically shutting down iPhone users' devices. [Read more]
London will play host to a record number of cyclists in August as the Prudential Ride London Freecycle event expands [Read more]
Commuters using London's Fenchurch Street could face a travel headache going home tonight, with operators confirming [Read more]
Eight candidates are vying for the role of deputy Labour leader in a crowded race alongside the high-profile leadership [Read more]
Between 1997 and 2013, people living in just four regions in the UK saw their disposable income increase when [Read more]
Prime Minister David Cameron has had work done. Five years in Coalition has taken its toll on the youthful fresh-face [Read more]
Swiss police are questioning 10 Fifa officials over the controversial award of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to [Read more]
Dutch banking giant ING last night cut its stake in NN, an insurance and investment management company.
Update: Nearly 150 flights have been cancelled and 32 diverted to other European cities after a power outage shut [Read more]
A fresh investigation into migrant worker conditions in Qatar landed BBC reporters in prison recently. It is another [Read more]