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The Greatest Negotiators: Part One

Elizabeth Lewis

The Scotwork Australia team recently gathered for our quarterly team meeting and catch up. Our group is growing, recently welcoming two new team members – Negotiation Consultant Natasha Barton and HR Manager Heather Tooth – which now brings our total number to 16. With our team spread across Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Hobart we don’t always get the opportunity to sit and chat in person during the working week, so these occasions are always very enjoyable.


I am fortunate enough to work with some really fantastic people who I not only like on a personal level, but whom I have a great deal of admiration for in terms of their knowledge and skill around negotiation and business in general. Naturally, I completed the Advancing Negotiation Skills course when I began at Scotwork and this is a great framework for approaching negotiation, but I am also fortunate in that I have a number of great mentors on hand who I can ask advice of and continue to learn from on a daily basis.


I got to thinking though at this recent meeting, these colleagues who I admire – who do they admire themselves when it comes to negotiation and why?


The Greatest Negotiators - According to the Scotwork Australia Team


“I am in constant admiration of clients I have taught who after finishing the course are brave enough to take those new skills and start testing and applying them. Recently I was very impressed by a client who is extremely disciplined with his negotiation preparation and who is brilliant at putting a price on demands. That’s the kind of stuff I love to see”.

Ben Byth | Senior Consultant | Brisbane


“Most people will think of famous negotiators such as Henry Kissinger (understandably!) and of course there are lots of great academics who are very knowledgeable about negotiation. I have a lot of respect for my colleagues who are all incredible negotiations. I also really admire some of the clients I work with. I’ve been working with a particular client recently, who comes to mind for his great preparation, his ability to manage the process really well, communicate clearly and understand when it is appropriate to trade.”

Tyler Hall | Partner & Principal Consultant | Sydney


“It's easy to identify high profile successful negotiators in business and diplomacy - names like Kissinger, Kennedy, Mandela and Carnegie leap immediately to mind - but in many situations "iconic" negotiators owe much of their success to being in a position of power (holding a lot of leverage). Really great negotiators are those who can achieve mutually beneficial outcomes even when they don't enjoy the luxury of power or leverage. Those people are harder to identify because they aren't high profile "household names" - which is precisely why they are successful. Pause for a moment and consider the people in your own organisation who seem to create enduring, successful business relationships without fanfare or fuss, even when the odds seem stacked against them. They are the really good negotiators.”

Simon Kelland | Partner & Principal Consultant | Sydney


“I have a great deal of respect and admiration for the late Bob Hawke - he was an everyman and could see both sides point of view. He was a conciliator and could walk both sides of the union/corporate divide. He had integrity and massive reserves of trust. He was also a get out of jail card for deadlocked parties locked in a longstanding dispute. Both parties would be desperate to resolve but any concession would be a massive loss of face. As a result, both sides could say to their constituents that Bob “made them do it” whether with his silvery tongue or threats to withdraw. Both parties could walk away with face and a deal.”

Keith Stacey | Principal Consultant | Hobart


"In recent times I was impressed by former Australian Trade Minister Andrew Robb's negotiation efforts on the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement. It was difficult due to many variables across several countries and seemed to be handled much more efficiently than just about anyone else could have achieved. So, it must have been an exceptional mix of commitment, preparation, work ethic, pragmatism, personal credibility and persuasion."

Hunter Shannonhouse | Senior Consultant | Sydney


Stay tuned for Part 2! But in the meantime - who are your negotiation heroes? We’d love to hear some more about who you admire and why! 


Happy Negotiating! 

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