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Respect all Core Values

Once you've identified the Core Values that are in play, commit to respecting those values even if you do not respect or "like" the behaviors that others are using to defend their values.  This is easier than you may think because your commitment is to universal values that you would not wish to live without, trust me.


[Example: a parent might instinctively 'spank' a child if they tried to run into a busy street:  The behavior,  spanking, is not driven by a desire to cause pain, but instead a universal value we all want, namely safety.]


Beware any tendency to disrespect either your own value or the other's.  Neither path will be satisfying for long.  Wise people tell that revenge only seems to work. It has a price that may be incalculable.

Emotional Authenticity: Practice being honest with yourself about the strength of your feelings and what your deepest motivations are.  Authenticity of this type is liberating. It has the advantage of never needing to be defended once you accept it as universally shared.  Listen for the same authenticity in those you are in conflict with.  Without emotional authenticity everyone has to 'guess' at what matters to you which can waste time and cause needless pain.  Some Core Values are hard to admit at first and others may try to take advantage of honesty that is delivered poorly or in an untimely way.

Negotiation and dialog are VOLUNTARY:  

It is important to remember at this point that negotiation, like all dialog is a voluntary activity.  It cannot be coerced and any coercion will fail, without fail.  You can, however, practice CVN even if your 'opponent' does not want to use it. Learning this tool may be all you need to deal with the conflict more effectively.

This includes my own Invitation: 

During a workshop I may invite you to take on a core value, identity or role for the purpose of teaching the circle.  This is an 'invitation' NOT an 'expectation'.

Core Agreements

Deep Listening: In Core Values Negotiation you listen first to yourself. You become very clear on why you are in the conflict you are in. Not the superficial reasons but the deeper motives that are undeniable in their universal significance once you recognize them.  Once you've done this for yourself, you can do the same for those you experience as "opposing" the values you care about.  Assume 'they' are doing the same thing as you.  Presuming good intentions of others is the easiest path to nurturing curiosity.

The 'Prime Directive' of dialog: 

Without the following two agreements there is little point in dialog.  Trust is the basis for dialog and relies on the next two commitments for success.

Intellectual Honesty: At heart intellectual honesty, as I use the term, refers to not being willing to give benefits or impose consequences on someone else that you would not readily accept for yourself.  It is a Golden Rule of conduct in conflict. This rule applies those engaged in the conflict as well as those who are witnessing it. Sometimes people become accustomed to conflict and may perpetuate it or supporting others remaining in unproductive conflict.  Learn how to identify experts who manipulate 'wedge issues'.]

This Works! In fifteen years I have yet to see the process fail with someone who committed to the above two agreements.

Invitation: At times I may invite any party or witness to take on a core value, identity or role for the purpose of teaching the circle.  This is an 'invitation' NOT a 'expectation'.  If you have made it this far you may be ready for the next step. 

CVN is not a substitute for personal growth or development work.  It is NOT "Conflict Resolution" because sometimes conflict is necessary for a relationship to grow honestly.  CVN is a tool for initiating, maintaining and making dialog more productive for all parties.  It is also a way to develop appreciation for values we forget when we are in conflict, so we can reassess our defenses and strategies.

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