Negotiation Challenge I am an expert in negotiation

About me


My name is Paul Rogers and I began work in a commercial sphere on March 4th, 1981. Since then I have worked as a practitioner, as an academic, and as a consultant, always in and around the buyer/seller interface. I have worked with some of the world's largest companies from Manchester to Melbourne from Miami to Manila.

Am I an expert in negotiation?

  • I am a published author on negotiation (Buy my book here!)
  • I have been engaged by national, state and local governments to negotiate sensitive and complex issues
  • I am regularly engaged by blue chip organisatons and consultancies to coach their teams in negotiation

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I like to think that the ultimate managerial skill is learning to learn. I take learning seriously, and have an insatiable curiosity to learn about people and about things. This translates into a respect for other people and also a desire to understand novel issues and to try and solve problems.

Practitioner

I think it helps to have worked in a practitioner role in and around the buyer seller interface as you gain an appreciation of the constraints challenges and objectives of each party. I worked in procurement in a variety of roles including what would now be called category management roles before becoming head of procurement at a local authority in the UK while still in my 20s. This taught me a lot about corporate life and the internal negotiations that go on in a political organisation!

Academic

I spent a number of years as a Senior Lecturer in procurement at a business school. There is a saying that 'if you want to truly understand the topic you have to teach others' and I can say that the process of teaching people procurement gave me a thorough understanding of procurement and its conceptual basis. In this role I was made program director for a BSc Honours Degree in Organisational and Management Studies and this exposed me to a wide range of managerial topics above and beyond the world of procurement.

It was in this role that my relationship with the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply developed. I created for them the Corporate Award solution which has subsequently become a key plank of their market offering. I conceived, designed and delivered the solution in the UK, and subsequently I delivered the first Corporate Award in the southern hemisphere. I have also coached and trained numerous procurement practitioners who are now CPOs in blue-chip corporations around the world.

Consultant

I have been a consultant for many years I've been privileged to work for many blue-chip companies from British Airways to Shell, from Philips to BP and countless others. I always feel that I learn something more from my clients than they learn from me! In particular I learned to be a cultural chameleon, adapting to the behaviours, standards and values of different clients. I think this is helpful because if you go into an organisation with the belief that 'your way is right, and their way is wrong' you are going to struggle to 'hit the ground running', since both parties are going to have a period of mutual acclimatisation.

I have undertaken countless assignments all over the world involving pure procurement assignments, interpersonal skills assignments, analytical assignments, coaching teams in negotiation, and leading negotiations. I'd like to think that I grow with every assignment and that I am more capable after each one learning something from the experience and from the people I work with.

Qualifications

I passed exams to qualify as a Member of the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply in the 1990s, and I was elected a Fellow of that body in the mid 2000s.

Approach

I am well aware some people are enthusiastic about principled negotiation and that positional bargaining is regarded as a somewhat tawdry alternative. I don't share that view. In fact I do not agree that they are mutually exclusive at all. And virtually all of the negotiations in which I have been involved that has been some permutation of the two approaches. So I try to be open minded about which approach is most appropriate.

For what it's worth, I believe that if you go into a negotiation determined to share common principles and avoid positional bargaining at all costs you will end up with an outcome, but it is unlikely to be as successful for your organisation as if you were flexible enough to 'mix and match' approaches as the situation requires.

My approach is to be flexible, to be helpful and not to dictate to clients what they should do or how they should do it, rather to advise, to suggest and to persuade.

That's pretty much what you would expect, isn't it?