Negotiation - nature or nurture?

8 June 2009
Can you remember the earliest negotiation you did? Perhaps it was swapping “doubles” of Alan Sunderland and Kevin Keegan to earn the elusive Cyril Regis to complete your sticker album (or if you come from an earlier era, your cigarette card collection)? Maybe it was negotiating with your parents to wash the dishes for a week so you could stay up a bit later? How did you come by these skills? Were they passed on to you by somebody else? Or was there something that naturally meant you could get a better deal for things than your mates? Is negotiation nature or nurture? Ultimately this is a fundamental question in the development of procurement talent in the future. If people are “born negotiators” then the profession faces a far tougher task than if skills can simply be taught – simply because the available talent pool is greatly reduced. If there is a limited group of people who are “the best” negotiators, what steps are being taken to ensure they are on the buying side of the table rather than the sales side? How can talented negotiators be convinced that their skills would be more greatly valued in procurement rather than sales?
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