News & Insights | News | 06 December 2019

“Nine Lessons for Negotiators from Brexit”:

  1. Understand your objective.

  2. Understand your metrics.

  3. Know the commercials.

  4. Time is a crucial factor in the balance of power.

  5. Understand how proposals might be received, and the credibility of them.

  6. Issues will not go away.

  7. Make things happen. Do not hope it will be okay.

  8. Internal alignment is part of the process, and the downfall of many.

  9. Trust is immeasurable but incredibly important.


There’s no getting away from it and so I will declare it upfront: this article deals with that by now, most notorious of portmanteaus in modern British politics. At a mere six letters long and starting with the innocuous letter “B”, I am of course referring to Brexit. The truth is that short of going into hibernation and avoiding all news sources, none of us can get away from it, and so it was that a recent Brexit article on the BBC website particularly resonated with me, and led to me formulating some Brexit-themed negotiation thoughts that I would like to share with you now.

Whichever route is decided for Brexit - deal, no deal or remain - and the subsequent impact, each will inevitably lead to numerous conversations and debates around contract renegotiations, risk alleviation, supply chain, and so on - the list is pretty much endless. The one thing we can be certain of is that there will also be countless more articles, blogs and discussions upon this subject. Many of these will have a political angle. As a commercial negotiator however, my job is to spare you my views on the politics, and instead draw out the salient discussion points within my area of expertise.

Here then are my thoughts on this most topical and thorniest of topics. My hope is that they air key topics, raise pertinent questions, and marshal trains of thought to enhance and inform your commercial negotiations.


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