Negotiators: the next generation

8 February 2013
Negotiators beware, as the next generation is snapping at your heels. Earlier this week I attended the CIPS Negotiation Challenge, where six teams of students from various Peter Jones Enterprise Academies battled it out for the prize of top negotiating team. I was struck by how professional they were. All were suited and booted, high on confidence and demonstrated strong business acumen. They took to the property development challenge - where they had to trade land with each other to acquire enough to construct a specific building - with vigour, and it was fascinating to see the different tactics the teams brought to the negotiating table. This made me think back to how my 17 year-old self would have dealt with the same situation. My conclusion was, pretty badly. Over the past 20 years, there has been such a dramatic change in how young people approach their careers. Schools are focusing more on courses that will lead to a specific profession, be it academic or vocational. By the time a student reaches 16, they are often already settled on a career path. This is great news for our future businesses, but what about the life skills that can’t be taught? And are we ignoring the softer skills? More and more businesses are concentrating on developing these, as they become essential in corporate situations. They too must be encouraged through the school years. You’ll be able to find out which team was victorious in the negotiation challenge in the February edition of Supply Management, out next week.
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