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Last week, we talked about how the Core Values Index helps you (and your partner!) to understand the unchanging, innate DNA of your soul. We talked about the gifts and the strengths of each core value — Builder, Merchant, Innovator, and Banker — as well as the catalyst for each.

This week, we’re talking about conflict styles. Yep. Stick with me. The Core Values Index™ provides fantastic context for better understanding how and why you manage conflict the way you do. Each core value has its own conflict style, and we dig into each one below. Here we go!


Builders possess a value of power catalyzed by faith. Their conflict strategy is intimidation.

With their power and faith in themselves to get things done, sometimes the Builder is like a bull in a china shop. They have no idea that this is how they come across. They most often don’t see themselves this way. The Builder is just trying to get things done! 

They can be intimidating because of their internal core self of power and faith. When others put up roadblocks or don’t have faith in themselves, the Builder instinctively flips into intimidation mode to make what needs to happen actually happen and move things forward. 

The Builder’s greatest fear is being powerless. If they sense a lack of power in themselves, they’ll start grasping for power by being intimidating and holding onto whatever power they can get a hold of.


Merchants possess a value of love catalyzed by truth. Their conflict strategy is manipulation.

With an intense intuitive sense based in love, Merchants will always grasp for love. If they feel like love and truth aren’t being honored, they’ll do anything to keep love in the room. Oftentimes, to the Merchant, love is a space with no conflict, no difficult conversations, and everyone getting along peacefully all the time. This is not realistic and often doesn’t cultivate deep relationships or understandings, because conflict is almost always avoided in order to preserve the love. True love does not exclude truth. If the Merchant can’t keep love present, they will unintentionally and almost mindlessly grasp for love. To others, this ends up feeling like manipulation. Merchants may hide their truth when truth might actually be helpful. They will enable other people and try to control them to ensure love stays present.

The Merchant’s greatest fear is losing love.


Innovators possess a value of wisdom catalyzed by compassion. Their conflict strategy is interrogation.

When the Innovator feels like people are doing something foolish — or if they themselves feel foolish or unwise — they’ll turn to interrogation to cope. Their compassion dissipates. Innovators are notorious for throwing “wisdom bombs” at others to try to let them know how foolish they’re being. When they feel like others aren’t listening or taking their wisdom to heart, Innovators take an I’ll-show-them approach. The worries or concerns of Innovators may be perfectly well-founded, but they often communicate them poorly. What’s meant by the Innovator as a gift of wisdom feels to others like a cold-hearted lecture. When an Innovator’s worry or concern has lost compassion, it feels derogatory and totally lacking empathy.

The Innovator’s greatest fear is being seen as unwise or having to deal with something that they deem to be foolish.


Bankers possess a value of knowledge catalyzed by justice. Their conflict strategy is aloof judgment.

Bankers value knowledge and justice, and if they see something that is unjust or not right, and others aren’t taking their knowledge to heart, they’ll become aloof judges. This conflict strategy is the most covert of all. During conflict, Bankers will pull away. They’ll hand down aloof judgment on others as if to say, “I can have nothing to do with stupidity. Talk to the hand!”

The Banker’s greatest fear is being stupid or being without knowlege. If they sense this, they’ll distance themselves from the situation and judge you as bad. The Banker may even put up an emotional barrier and start doing their own thing to take care of themselves. Instead of sharing with others, they will hoard their knowledge and resources because both are really important. (Silver lining: Bankers often win at Settlers of Catan!) 

Important Note: Bankers are often the least revered in our culture because they’re the “no” person, and we don’t like hearing that in America. Listen to Bankers.

Beyond Your Conflict Strategy

If you’re feeling a little worried or discouraged, don’t! We’re not going to leave you here forever with your less-than-ideal conflict strategies! We’ll show you a better way forward through conflict. Look for more details on this in an upcoming blog post. 

And if you haven’t already taken the CVI™ assessment, now is a perfect time to learn more about yourself and the people you care about. Take the free assessment here. And if you’d like to share your results with us, we’d love to hear about it