Negotiation – an art?

I spend much of my working life negotiating. It is an art. And it can be learned.


One of the rules is to work out what is in a deal for the other side. You need to see if you can spot their strengths and weaknesses – before you enter the arena ideally.

I was amused last week to see the story of the Grangemouth Oil Refinery situation. Whichever way you look at this it was a case of really poor negotiating on the part of the Unite Union. In effect they pushed for what they believed was the right deal for their client (the workers) to the extent that they took industrial action – shutting the plant down. What they didn’t spot was that Ineos (the owners) had another option – shutting the whole plant down – with the loss of 800 jobs. And they played that card.

After the event Unite claimed that Ineos had intended to shut the plant down all along (which has now proved not to be quite right).

The whole situation has now been rescued with the workers accepting the deal on the table from Ineos – new terms and conditions in effect.

The lesson here? Learn to see when you have pushed the deal to the limit – then stop pushing!!

The trouble with God is that he think’s he’s Bob Geldof

Last night – for the second time this year I relived my (wasted?) youth. Rock City played host the best rock and roll band on the planet – as announced by “Sir” Bob Geldof to an audience with an average age to qualify for a bus pass (me excepted of course).

Saint Bob?

Saint Bob?

If you weren’t there in the late 1970′s and early 19080′s it is hard to describe the influence the Boomtown Rats had. Geldof was a loud mouthed (and at times foul mouthed – he uttered the F-word for the first time on live TV during Live Aid) and opinionated. The songs resonated with a disenchanted youth. Me included. It was rebellion personified. We were pissed off. Still am it seems.

But the tunes were good too. And the lyrics were sublime. This is proper rock and roll – requiring to be played loud even if the pensioners were struggling with their hearing aids!

The set-list was impressive (I knew every word of every song here – such was the mis-spent youth):

(I Never Loved) Eva Braun
Like Clockwork
Neon Heart
Do you In
Someone’s Looking At You
Banana Republic
She’s So Modern
I Don’t Like Mondays
CLose As You’ll Ever Be
When The Night Comes
Mary of the 4th form
Lookin’ After Number One
Rat Trap
Never Bite The Hand That Feeds
Diamond Smiles
Boomtown Rats

Geldof was irreverent, funny and serious at times – reminding us that nothing has really changed since he wrote this stuff. What the voice lacks – the enthusiasm and energy make up for.

This was as good as a gig gets for me. 10/10.

A Twitter war!

Last night you might recall we held the first PSL match of the 2013/14 season. Air-IT Nottingham beat Coolhurst London 3-2. It was a great night for the club and the team.


But the events running up to the match were quite interesting too – especially as one of the Coolhurst players had been courting notoriety on Twitter. Ben Coleman () was rather scathing of the women’s game.

This all came about because last week in the US Open – the prize money for the girls was the same as the boys. Ben was unimpressed and didn’t see that the girls should have equality. For a 22 year old these seems rather an old fashioned view?

James Willstrop summed it all up rather nicely in his weekly Yorkshire Post column – you can read it here. He said, “Last week the US Open Squash Championships made a bold statement by dividing the prize money equally between the men and the women, something that has rarely been done in squash over the years. This attracted widespread commentary from players and fans alike and regrettably a number of people, some fellow male players even, seem to be unflinching on the matter, citing unfathomable, archaic and plain sexist views as explanations.”

I’m with Willstrop on this one. Having watched Nicol David last week – this was every bit as entertaining as any mens squash match I have ever watched. Although it is not yet up on YouTube some of her great matches are – here.

Ben might need some help onto an “Equality Course”. I think they ran them in the 1990′s? Oh and if you were wondering – he lost to Eddie Charlton in Fortress Nottingham. The girls might have been on Eddies side, a little bit!

By Tim Garratt Posted in Business, Grumpy Old Man!, Nottingham Tagged Air-It Nottingham, Alan Clyne, Ben Coleman, Chris Fuller, Coolhurst London, Dave Wardle, Eddie Charlton, Emma Beddoes, James Willstrop, Mark Fuller, PSL,

The RICS APC assessments loom – for the penultimate time.

Later in the week I head off to my least favourite hotel in the world – The Park Inn at Heathrow. I am assessing for the RICS – four candidates face their final hurdle to get into the Institution.


I spent much of Sunday reading their documentation.

It will be a nerve wracking day for them – they get quizzed for an hour about their competences. They have a 10 minute presentation – which then gets interrogated. We need to know they have done the job – so the questions probe the detail of their chosen subject. I tell our candidates that they need to be under the skin of the job they did – leaving no stone unturned.

I have set out my tips previously.

I have one more set of assessments to do this year after Heathrow – in a couple of weeks time – regrettably these will be my last.

I have decided to handy up my boots on assessing. I have a number of reasons.

Firstly I am becoming increasingly concerned about the level of auditing of the assessors that goes on. I can accept that panels need to be audited to ensure that the questioning is consistent and fair – but I was chosen last week to be audited prior to the assessment to make sure the chairman of the panel had been in touch with me! This is administration gone mad in my view – and I have made my feelings known. I have refused to fill in the audit form.

There has also been an incident in which an auditor has resigned – I can’t reveal the detail – as it is subject to an internal RICS legal investigation. Suffice to say that I am disappointed in the way the matter has been dealt with to the extent that I am no longer prepared to support the process.

It’s sad really – I have enjoyed putting something back – and it has helped me with our own candidates, but I have other things I can do with my valuable time!

An interesting week….

I was a bit busy towards the end of last week – you might have spotted the blog going quiet.

nsrc logo

It was the Squash Club AGM on Friday night – followed by the Annual Dinner Dance on Saturday. Tomorrow we have the first PSL match of the 2013/14 season – at home to Coolhurst London. My ‘couple of hours a month’ commitment looks a bit lost now!

At the AGM I was re-elected as Chairman for another year. It was a bit like the Azerbaijan election in that I knew the result before the Polls opened. No one is daft enough to stand! We still have work to do but we are turning the club around. People are passionate about the place! Despite having no money we have managed some very significant improvements to the courts n the last month (courtesy of a generous grant from England Squash). The club is looking fantastic.

At the Dinner Dance I had the dubious honour of a speech (for the second night running) – and was able to have a list of thank you’s. This included a whole host of people who volunteered their help in the year. “Friends of the Club” I call them. One day I’ll get them all a T-Shirt!

I am reading the auto-biography of James Willstrop – one of England’s most successful players of the modern time. In it it there is a great phrase which I want to put up on the wall at the club.

It says, “It’s amazing what can be achieved when no one cares who takes the glory”.

Tomorrow is team night. I’ll let you know how they get on!

Can someone please do this here?

I’m back – I found my way to the office.


I was in London last week – where it is easier to get around than here, but I digress. I had a few minutes to kill near Carnaby Street and saw this quirky development – in a courtyard. Shops on the second floor, cafes and the ground and first. It is Carnaby Street so does attract a certain type of retailer and customer. But it had a really good feel.

This is the sort of place people like to congregate in – compact, quirky, interesting even intimate, The coffee shop was under the staircase. It was independent of course.

There is something special about finding ‘secret’ places, shops tucked away which have to live by their reputation. It was evident that there were plenty of regulars here. I was just lucky!

I have explored here on lots of occasions my views about where retail should be heading – firmly away from the national multiples. Re-creating this sort of environment is not difficult. It takes some imagination and a few great shops and cafes to kick start it.

I loved it – and wished it were here in Nottingham – I would have my regular coffee there every day!


I’m not here right now. But thanks for dropping by. If you were thinking about visiting Nottingham I wouldn’t. Over the last few weeks it has become increasingly impossible to actually do anything here that I have decided to call it a day. Since I now probably spend an extra hour a day in my car queuing to get somewhere I have really lost the will. There’s little point leaving a message as there’ll be millions when I do come back. If I come back. I would ordinarily suggest you try someone else if you need help – but they’re not here either. Some have sadly passed away waiting in the traffic queues around the City. Some have forgotten what they were doing. Some are just going round in endless diversions. If you like traffic jams – call anytime or anywhere around the City – you’ll love it!

Nottingham Castle bid – part two

I made no particular secret of my views on the last scheme that was submitted to the Heritage Lottery Fund last year. It was rejected in May – but the City were encouraged to make a further bid. I thought it was all a bit bland – and I blogged about it just over a year ago.


Well there is a new bid – about to be submitted – and this time we’re dropping Robin Hood (boo!) – in favour of the story of the 1831 Riots.

Forgive my cynicism – but the what? The ‘famous’ 1831 Riots? Really? Look it up on Wiki and you’ll see we don’t even get a mention.

The feedback from HLF before was that they liked the historical connections and the rebellious nature of us local folk. The latter, of course, was claimed by the Castle Working Group. It actually came out of the Sheriff’s Commission trip to the USA in 2008. And was crystallised by a record store on Bleeker Street in New York – called Rebel Rebel. But that is detail.

Perhaps there was a need to revisit the story of Nottingham Castle – but leaving Robin Hood out? That is completely bonkers.

Clearly the story of the 1831 Riots (which were in Nottingham and Bristol) will be a world class attraction – and people will flock here to hear of it.

It’s enough to make you riot.

MIPIM 2014

Well the news is that Nottingham will be going to MIPIM 2014.

Matthew le lit dans le chien merde apartments

Matthew le lit dans le chien merde apartments

Following our (the private sector) handing back the reigns to the City Council in the summer – great progress has been made on the what the City will be doing in the south of France in March of next year.

More sponsors have come forward – it’s a big and influential team. We are working on a clear message – this is important. Key people from the City will be there and the bigger team looks as though it will take Cannes by storm. I’m delighted the City has raised it’s game and is going with a strong a presence as we have ever had.

We have some new things – including the use of some new advances in technology – I’ll blog about that later!

We have booked the apartment “Innes England” (Matthew Hannah has had nothing to do with this after the debacle of le chien merde apartments a few years ago). It will be the power base! And ‘nap’ palace. The flights are being looked at – but there is a suggestion we may well go by train…

I already have invites to respond to. As the market seems to be a little more ‘cheery’ this could be a critical MIPIM for us. This could be the start of the next cycle – and we need to be there shouting about the City.

We won’t be at the RipOff Blu Hotel – we have much bigger and better plans.

As you might have gathered I haven’t quite given up my involvement entirely. Together with a couple of the MIPIM diehards – we are on a steering group – to make sure there is still a major part to play by the private sector.

Roll on March?

This is superb!

In anticipation of the new Carrie movie – imagine if you had been caught in this New York coffee shop whn all hell broke loose!

Absolotueltely superb…

By Tim Garratt Posted in Business Tagged Carrie, , telekinesis