CONFLICT CONTAINMENT PRINCIPLES

1. Problem solving is a collaborative effort to resolve a problem.

2. Two-winner (win-win) tactics should be used.

3. Each partner should follow the "change first" principle. Each partner should be

prepared to "pay in advance" by changing their own behavior first, rather than

insisting that they will change when (after) the partner changes.

4. Problem solving should consist of two distinct, non-overlapping phases:

Problem Definition and Problem Resolution. There is no point in arguing, until

you are agreed on what you are arguing about. What in particular is the goal of

each or both, and what in particular is obstructing that goal? If you’re vague or

fuzzy, you probably will have no way of solving the unknown problem.

5. Problem definition should be BRIEF, positive, specific, and FUTURE -oriented.

6. Only one problem should be discussed. Throwing in every issue that exists

practically guarantees that none can be solved.

7. The communication skills of Listening, Validation, Feeling-Talk, Positive

Expression, and Negative Expression should be followed. The sense that one

is being listened to and taken seriously may be more important than winning.

8. Problem solving should be modest and limited in focus.

a.) One step at a time.

b.) Recognize that you won't get everything you want.

c.) The best solutions will come when both are invested in the change

process, and considering the relationship.

9. Conclusions should be detailed and repeated by each. End on a positive note,

so that both will understand that it is not a grudging end to the discussion.