CEDR has been working over the past several years to build on its reputation as being a thought leader in ADR, to move into the area of conflict management and negotiation training. A further articulation of this has been the introduction of the Negotiation and Leadership Academy. The goal of the Academy is to increase awareness in how individuals negotiate and appropriately use conflict in a variety of settings. Part of the development is the desire to support the products and services offered by our offices in Hong Kong and Dublin, which serve local and regional markets. We have provided one-day courses and seminars on negotiation and conflict management but have never offered anything like the Mediator Skills Training Course…until now
In September, I was fortunate to deliver with Danny Mcfadden and Felicity Steadman the first module of the Master of Negotiation Certificate, in Hong Kong. The fact that we have actually been able to deliver this course is fantastic. CEDR continues to set the trend in this market: offering what is recognised as the only course on the market that includes reflective learning and one-to-one coaching. What we have is brand recognition for providing something unique, adds value and is targeted at executives and leaders of the future.
The course has been specially designed for the local market. Although originally based on CEDR’s Certificate in Advanced Negotiation, delivered in the UK and Ireland (and soon in Greece), the Master in Negotiation Certificate recognises the need to include some of the conversations that continue to emerge, particularly, cultural norms/approaches that arise when doing business in APAC.
We are very fortunate to be able to work in a variety of different locations worldwide, and as a result, interact with many individuals, groups, and organisations. Often the conversation, either in a training session, meeting, or an informal session will turn to cultural difference (some researchers have even called this cultural ‘distance’). I start from the position that we are often more similar than different and that we are the ‘sum’ of our experiences, using a system theory perspective…but then I start thinking…what is it about culture that causes people to be so uncomfortable? I think that I have come to my own conclusion…it’s about the people…and this is something that Danny had highlighted throughout the course: that even when negotiations become really difficult, don’t forget that you are working with individuals who want the same thing as you…the deal…it is a matter of your approach that might be slightly different. What I also got from the conversation was the importance of individual connections, the subtleties that are inferred, and the often long build up to the ‘deal’ because of the need to build this relationship with a particular person or group. This takes time, patience, and consistency…something that some ‘Westerners’ often find bewildering…something I find fascinating. These and other discussions help inform our thinking when we operate in other markets and deliver other sessions but ultimately they continue to reinforce the idea that it’s often about the people, and that the most difficult negotiation conversation is often with oneself. What was also really helpful was that all of us leading the session had worked in London and had also lived and worked in other parts of the world so could bring their own ‘cultural experience’ to the table.
Working with Danny has been invaluable for my own education; he is someone who has mastered the art of operating successfully in multiple cultures and in two very different languages. He has successfully headed up CEDR’s office in Hong Kong, which offers disputes services and skills training and now has expanded into offering high level negotiation and leadership training, to the local market. I cannot forget Felicity Steadman who has had a similar effect on me. She was able to bring her experience of working as a company representative in union negotiations in South Africa, towards the end of apartheid, where culture was something that had huge influence not only in negotiation but also in daily life.
I am looking forward to delivering the next module of the course in November with CEDR’s Chief Executive Karl Mackie CBE and I am sure I will have further insights upon the conclusion of the course.