REAL-WORLD INSIGHTS

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Published: Aug 30 , 2018
Author: Robin Copland

The Caspian Sea is the sea that isn’t. It is landlocked and does not drain into the ocean, so it really should be called the Caspian Lake. Big lake, mind you, but there we are. The five countries surrounding the Sea, Azerbaijan, Iran, Turkmenistan, Russia and Kazahkstan have just recently signed a convention ending twenty years of dispute that has hindered the exploitation of the Caspian’s oil and gas reserves. Russia’s President Putin hailed the convention as “an important moment” and “a major landmark event for all our countries. “We have signed a convention on the legal status of the Caspian Sea. This is...

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Published: Aug 16 , 2018
Author: Robin Copland

Power is a funny thing. Inexperienced negotiators often make the mistake – and it can be a commercially ruinous error – of looking at it rather as competing nations might

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Published: Aug 09 , 2018
Author: Robin Copland

Negotiators don’t necessarily derive their power from the relative size of their organisations. In fact, many negotiators fall into the trap of being scared by a seemingly “bigger” opponent on the other side and end up striking deals that belie their significance to the other side. As I have written before, these deals can be commercially ruinous. In fact, they derive their power from the incentives and sanctions that they have at their disposal. The problem that negotiators face when deploying their power, exerting their leverage as I once heard it described, is that some incentives seem relatively indivisible. They have one enormous “chunk” of a concession and then it’s over to threats and counter-threats – never a place where nice people like to be!

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Open Buying

People are fascinated by Pound Shops. They’ve been around the High Street for over 20 years. Stores like Poundland, Poundstretcher, Poundworld, and others grew their estate and their customer numbers rapidly when Woolworths failed and austerity kicked in at the beginning of 2009. Not all have succeeded. 99p Stores were absorbed into Poundland, and recently Poundworld went into administration. For most, the original premise – that everything in the store is £1 – has had to go as inflation limits the stock range that can be sold profitably at that price point. Most of us...

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