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Value Management, Negotiation and Conflict Management


During the four day workshop period there was a lot of learning absorption which has a great value being added into my previous knowledge

This new knowledge has helped in reforming and reshaping my understanding of the best and most effective ways of how to deal with conflicts, especially the introduction of SDI/ Strength Development Inventory and how we can apply on the stakeholders to identify their personality styles including their personal motivational value system and personal conflict pattern, and how this would help us in predicting how likely they will act and react in conflict situations, as well as understanding the (Relationship Awareness Theory) which was developed by Dr. Elias Porter, so we would be able to recognize different models of behavior and to consider our own values as important motivating forces

This will definitely help us in resolving conflict more efficiently through better understanding of both ours and other party’s behavior in conflict situation

To demonstrate the ways in which I have developed our understanding of the workshop concepts, and to explain how the knowledge and lessons learnt can be applied into a real life conflict situation such as the Case Study Scenario, we will go through a list of main points:

1. Reassessing original Assumptions & Opinions in light of what was learnt during the course

Doing this course and attending its workshop, has changed many of my previously held assumptions and opinions. This is a reflection on number of personal assumptions and opinions that can be questioned:

§ To avoid looking at the conflict from only one perspective, and to look at the conflict through the goggle of being absolutely right without any attempt to consider other party’s point of view and perspective (to put myself in other party’s shoes). Doing this would have defiantly helped me with better understanding and recognizing of other party’s needs and expectations so we can search for common grounds as much as possible as encouragement to move towards searching for resolution on the ground of mutual benefit (to foster win/ win situation)

§ To listen actively to other party and to summarize their point of view before disagreeing

§ To emphasize relationship, especially if both parties have mutual interest in keeping good long term relationship (such as in my case study for being next door neighbours)

§ To avoid taking aspects of the conflict personally (personal attack) and focus on facts

§ To be innovative and look for other alternatives as part of the proposed resolution and foster flexibility 
§ Encouraging discussions and continuous communications would be very helpful in reaching mutual accepted resolution

§ To avoid rushing into the use of threats and to give more time to friendly negotiation (keep weapons away)

§ To keep early discussions informal (if possible) in an attempt to soften things down

2. Revising the Case Study in light of the understanding of course materials


2.1. Re-developing the Case Study in more detail

Neighbors’ Dispute

Harry and his wife Mary live in a Sydney suburban house since late sixties, both pensioners in their early seventies of age, spending most of their time and effort looking after their well maintained backyard garden

Although Mary is skeptical and not interested in others, she does her best to be diplomatic, just like when David and his wife Bianca moved to the next door house back in 2001, she joined her husband Harry in welcoming the new neighbors but kept insular as much as she could

Harry is inquisitive and critical to almost everything around him; he likes to play the role of consultative and gives unrequested advice to others. He was frequently being described by many neighbors as fussy and territorial

On the other side of the fence, David and Bianca (both in their mid thirties) live with their three children, Bianca is a very busy full time mum, well organized and caring housewife.

David is a professionally dedicated architect, well organized, analytical and disciplined

Since 2001 both families maintained a reasonably good level of interaction and positive relationship, including looking after each other with mutual trust and care, like sincerely offering (and acting) to assist each other when required. In general they were good neighbors to each other

Since mid 2006 David has noticed increasing defects in their shared timber fence, he talked to Harry about it and they discussed all possible solutions including a repair, but Harry insisted that the fence was too old and beyond repair, and suggested a replacement with a new color bond one, David agreed since it’s leaning dangerously towards his house side (in some parts) and how this might jeopardize his children’s safety, as well as Harry’s grand children when they visit

Harry suggested he would ask a friend of his who works as a fencer to provide a quotation, David agreed on that. After many weeks Harry got the quotation and David approved it (without suggesting having more quotations) and agreed to pay half of its cost, but Harry indicated that he was not financially ready for it and asked for a few months postponing, and David agreed

(Passive Avoidance)

After 6 months David reminded Harry about the fence (although Harry was avoiding the issue) but indicated that he was not ready yet. David did not want to be pushy or to damage their good relationship, so he asked Harry to let him know when he is ready

(Rights-Based Engagement)

Till mid 2007 (one year after the issue was raised), David reminded Harry about the fence as it’s getting more dangerous and had to support it with diagonal posts to avoid a sudden collapse, in return Harry responded that David had to relocate or block a downpipe at David’s house roof suggesting that in heavy rain water would start pouring from the downpipe and overflow towards his property into a grass footpath which consequently remain wet, David tried to explain to Harry that what he was claiming is not realistic since the downpipe located 10 meters far from the fence and its water is going straight into a flower bed, and that it’s the same downpipe since the house was built in the seventies, plus it’s one of the roof’s 3 downpipes and canceling it would cause major problems

At this point David realized that Harry is trying to divert attention from the main issue of the fence

(Passive Aggressive Avoidance)

In January 2008 Harry raised the downpipe issue again, David explained again why his request is not realistic and can’t be achieved, and indicated that repairing or replacing the fence is getting more urgent as it keeps endangering children’s safety, in return Harry insisted on what he thinks, and added ((if you were concerned about your children’s safety, you pay the full cost of the fence replacement, and I will talk to the council about the downpipe))

David replied with ((do whatever you want)). Relationship between the two families was damaged dramatically because of that unresolved issue.

My analysis is based on two identified styles Conflict Avoidance Behaviors

1. Passive Avoidance (as indicated above)

2. Passive Aggressive Avoidance (as indicated above) 

And one identified style of Conflict Engagement Behaviors

3. Right-Based Engagement (as indicated above)

§ David is Analytical, Green that may turn into Red especially when the safety of his children involved. His options includes checking with the council about:

1. Downpipe location, wither it was not in compliance with the council regulation

2. Boundary fence, about the joint responsibility to share the cost of its repair or replacement

3. his rights and Harry ‘s obligations, and wither Harry can be forced to cooperate either by the council or other authority bodies 
§ Harry is Manipulative, Opportunistic and Red, and will continue his attempts to avoid the responsibility to share the cost of repairing or replacing the boundary fence. He will also continue to use the downpipe issue as a way to divert attention from his avoiding attempts

I would also advice David to keep some type of communications between his family and Harry‘s family; this would prevent doors from being completely shut and encourage the start of a negotiation process. Bearing in mind the different sets of values held by both parties, It would also be important that David start identifying and recognizing Harry wants and needs to establish common grounds for negotiation through emphasizing on mutual benefits expected from reaching an agreement

2.2. New knowledge that would help better understand the other person’s point of view

Using SDI/ Strength Deployment Inventory to identify other person’s personality style and his/ her Motivational Value System for better understanding of their Behavior in Conflict situation, and this would lead to more accurate predicting of others person’s future actions through better understanding of other person’s Conflict Sequence

As well as the importance of active listening to other party’s point of view and to put more effort into trying to identifying their wants and needs, towards establishing common grounds necessary to begin a negotiation procedure towards final resolution of the conflict

2.3. New knowledge about own position and its strengths and weaknesses, and the ability to achieve better understanding of own legal rights & to state own intentions and needs

Through applying SDI on myself, I had a better understanding of my personality style and my Conflict Sequence and how I might tend to behave in a conflict situation and what I need to be aware of and what to avoid during that situation

Working on the SDI section of (Portrait of Personal Strengths) helped me in identifying my own personal strengths foe better understanding and deployment in conflict situation

Also applying the SDI section of (Portrait of Overdone Strengths) made me full aware of how overusing these personal strengths might actually lead to opposite and negative results and turning our strengths into weaknesses

In regards to personal weaknesses (during applying the SDI) I found that charting the Arrow which connects the Dot which indicates the Motivational Value System (motives and values that drive behavior when things are going well) and the Arrowhead which indicates the Conflict Sequence (changes in motivation in conflict that drive changes in behavior in conflict), was very beneficial in understanding my potential behavior in time of conflict, the direction of the Arrow indicates into what style zone someone will head in conflict situation, in my case I am a Green person but in conflict situation I might tend to borrow some Red behavior because my Arrow heads towards Red-Green zone. Also the length of the Arrow which represents the time units required by a person to escalate or explode in a conflict situation, made it clear that my short Arrow indicates that I might explode in relatively a short period of time, so I need to consider this fact and try to avoid this type of behavior in a conflict situation or to deploy it in a positive way

3. Readings and Relevant Resources that would best inform future position about potential disagreements

Materials provided during the course, including: the workshop tutors slides, SDI/ Strength Deployment Inventory guide, and the list of recommended references (text books & websites) will be a valuable resource of information and knowledge

4. New understanding about the general nature of how to Enter, Manage and survive disagreements, and ways to recognize disagreements’ early warning signs

§ The root of any conflict is the conflict of involved parties’ needs and wants

§ Establishing BATNA/ Best Alternative to Negotiated Agreement is vital in any negotiation situation

§ Encouraging other party to get in the process of negotiation by explaining the mutual expected benefits

§ To recognize the differences in values of involved parties which effects how they set their benchmarks on what to be considered as fair and legitimate 
§ Efficient communications is vital to reach a negotiated agreement

Creating a conflict MAP can help us see the big picture and relationships between the elements of conflict which we may be blind to, and highlights motivational factors and helps identify priorities to discover common grounds as first step to resolve the conflict

This can be done through:

§ Addressing the issue with broad terms, unemotional language, and to focus on facts rather than personal impressions

§ Identifying the stakeholders in this conflict, along with their needs (wants, values, interests and what they care about) and fears (concerns, anxieties, hidden needs and worries)

§ Reading the map: Look for new insights, discover common ground and identify special concerns

§ Benefits of mapping: structure the conversation, creates a forum to express needs, build empathy, helps to see others’ points more clearly and to look at the problem from new perspectives and to move towards resolution

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