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The Impact of Identity on Negotiation per Enda Young, Ep #419

The Impact of Identity on Negotiation per Enda Young

The cost of workplace conflict in Northern Ireland (with a population of 1.9 million people) is almost 1 billion pounds per year. Those costs are astronomical.

That’s why Enda Young and Northern Ireland Mediation have created an immersive conflict resolution program to train mediators and negotiators. You learn your skills and repeatedly practice them in a simulation center.

Enda seeks to apply the work in the field of simulation to the field of mediation in a practical and impactful way. But he also encourages negotiators, mediators, and all leaders to focus on introspection. Because you can’t effectively negotiate, mediate, or lead others without intimately knowing your identity.

Do you know how you handle conflict? Do you come out on the other side of a negotiation without achieving your desired result? Is your identity too wrapped up in what you do?

Enda dives headfirst into a discussion on the impact of identity on negotiation in this episode of Negotiations Ninja.

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:43] Learn more about Enda Young
  • [3:56] How conflict in Ireland impacted Enda
  • [7:08] The impact of identity on negotiation
  • [11:17] You’re no good to others without self-care
  • [17:35] How to coach others on self-reflection
  • [20:09] Enda’s immersive conflict resolution program

How conflict in Ireland impacted Enda personally and professionally

When Enda was young, he got involved in an organization called “The Spirit of Enniskillen.” Enniskillen is a small town in the Northwest of Northern Ireland. The Spirit of Enniskillen Trust was established in the aftermath of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA) bombing in Enniskillen. The bomb killed Gordon Wilson’s daughter.

BBC interviewed Gordon hours after her death, in which he said he bore no ill will toward the people who did it. He pleaded that no one would seek revenge for her death and stated that he’d pray for the men who orchestrated the bombing.

Northern Ireland is now celebrating the 25th anniversary of the peace accord. The Spirit of Enniskillen Trust was a charity formed out of this tragic event that sought to teach young people to have open dialogue and build a ”shared, fair and diverse society in Northern Ireland.”

The impact of identity on negotiation

The book “Difficult Conversations” posits the idea that there are three “conversations” within every conversation: The “what,” the “feelings,” and the “identity.”

Enda worked with someone who was stepping away from their board. Their exit negotiation was proving to be difficult. The “what”—i.e. severance and succession plan—was straightforward. The “feelings” were touched on. However, the negotiation was challenging because they were trying to grasp how this person’s identity impacted how they’d proceed.

This person founded the organization and worked in it for over two decades. Would they name a building after the individual? Or a flagship project? Once they got into that conversation, it broke the impasse and built momentum. You can never underestimate the power of identity.

Navigate introspection with a coach

Many people shedding a part of themselves struggle with losing their identity. They have to come to terms with who they are now. It’s an existential crisis. You have to figure out the next steps when you’re the person who did “that thing” for so long. They’re suddenly asking, “Who am I?”

Any time someone transitions out of something that has defined so much of their life, you need someone to help you navigate the emotional side of the process. That’s why Enda is an avid supporter of coaches. They are highly skilled individuals trained to help.

Learn more about the intersection of identity in negotiation—and how self-reflection and self-care can transform the way you negotiate—in this episode of Negotiations Ninja.

Resources & People Mentioned

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