Make the value hierarchy

The first step in dealing with value conflicts is to understand them. When you are aware of values and their hierarchy, you have the reference to understand other’s needs, expectations, and inner workings.


  1. Think about what is important for you in a relationship. It is ideal, if you are in a relationship, that your partner also does this exercise.
    Make a column titled “attributes/values of relationship.” Then make a space to rank the following attributes: Love, Ecstasy, Mutual Communication, Respect, Fun, Growth, Support, Challenge, Creativity, Beauty, Attraction, Spiritual Unity, Freedom, and Honesty.

  2. Compare the attributes to decide which are the most important to you, and list them in the order of their importance.
    Consider each attribute individually against the others to determine their level of importance to you. For example, consider the first two attributes: love and ecstasy. Which is more important to you? If you believe love is more important, then compare love with the next attribute, mutual communication. If love is still more important, then continue through the list one attribute at a time making the same comparison. If, at any point, another attribute is more important than love you will complete the rest of the list using that attribute as the comparison instead of love. This will allow you to select the highest ranking attribute. Then you will start from the beginning with another attribute, in this case ecstacy. After using this method to consider each of the 13 attributes individually, you should have a rank-ordered list with the most important attribute at the top, the second most important in the second row, the third most important in the third row, and so forth, until you reach the least important attribute at the bottom. If two values have the same level of importance for you, ask yourself what would happen if you removed one value. Which would you miss more?

  3. If you complete the hierarchy with your partner, ask what each attribute means for him/her. You should do this for at least the first four values in the hierarchy.
    Remember, the same word can have different meanings for different people.

  4. Complete the same hierarchy for your work environment or your relationship with your children.
    Think of the values for each area of your life. You can invite your employees or children to complete the hierarchy as well.


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