There appears a breakthrough in UK-EU relations.
Deadlock broken on the tricksy so-called Northern Ireland Protocol. The now named Windsor Framework hailed as a 'landmark deal' by those crafting it as a pragmatic platform for future prosperous trade and relations.
You needn't be well-versed in the labyrinthine politics surrounding this.
Suffice to say, of the many stumbling blocks came in the form of a formalised stance from one of the two main parties sitting in the Belfast government. For any proposed new deal to replace the temporary arrangement currently in place, they set out seven tests [see footnote 1 for their actual text].
The point is not what they are, but that they exist.
I heard echoes of another (in)famous set of tests in British politics.
From mid-97, the newly elected duo Blair and Brown proudly heralded their five tests for joining the incoming Euro currency.
A deeply divisive issue, across the whole political horseshoe, that as history informs, has not seen nor ever seems likely to see the Euro replace the pound Sterling.
[Footnote 2 features the actual quintet of questions at the time. Footnote 3 the putdown of the Opposition.]
What may well be of more Sales interest is how each one was given a sub-topic;
the convergence test, the flexibility test, the investment test, the city & financial services test and the growth, stability & jobs test.
Parallels in our world include how we qualify an opportunity, through to how our future clients assess both provision and provider.
Have we formalised the Green Lights necessary to commit our precious resource to working on any particular deal?
Have our prospects a summary overview of what any project or potential partner must feature for them to consider purchase?
In both cases, of either Qualification criteria and Buyer checklist, what rubric is already in place to determine a Go-No Go project?
If you can keep these to a top priority, all encompassing five tests, then such group of questions can focus both where you put your efforts and why prospects - providing they lead to answers fitting uniquely within you and your proposal's edge - will ultimately choose to buy from you.
Even better, if you can apply a specific label to each Test.
By way of example for your prospects, imagine helping them work through and generate their own, along lines such as; the payback test, the ease of implementation test, the mitigation test, the disruption test, & the legacy test.
I feel duty bound to also draw attention to this summing up of broadsheet columnist Sherelle Jacobs;
"the golden rule of effective negotiation: being willing to indulge the other side’s fantasy that they have landed a great deal, while outmanoeuvring them on the details."
Doesn't strike me as true win-win. Yet not everyone we sit across the table from will believe in the power of genuine collaboration. Ever thought like this during that sometime fraught contract to and fro?
footnote 1 :: N Ireland party the DUP's seven tests
1. Guarantee the sixth article of the Act of the Union 1800 · 2. Avoid diversion of trade · 3. No border in the Irish Sea · 4. Giving NI people a say in their laws · 5. No checks on goods between GB/NI · 6. No new regulatory barriers between NI and rest of UK - unless agreed in [seat of govt at] Stormont · 7. Preserve 'letter and spirit' of NI's position set out in the Good Friday Agreement
footnote 2 :: UK governing Centre-Left Labour party Five Tests for joining the Euro currency from mid-97
Are business cycles and economic structures compatible so that we and others could live comfortably with euro interest rates on a permanent basis?
If problems emerge is there sufficient flexibility to deal with them?
Would joining EMU create better conditions for firms making long-term decisions to invest in Britain?
What impact would entry into EMU have on the competitive position of the UK's financial services industry, particularly the City's wholesale markets?
Will joining EMU promote higher growth, stability and a lasting increase in jobs?
footnote 3 :: UK Opposition Centre-Right Conservative party leader William Hague's teasing riposte to Labour PM Tony Blair's 5 Tests, 25th October 2000
Does Peter want it?
Will Gordon let me?
Will the French like it?
Will Robin notice?
Can I get away with it?"