Book Club

The 3rd Alternative: Solving Life's Most Difficult Problems by Stephen R Covey

largeThe 3rd Alternative: Solving Life's Most Difficult Problems written by Stephen Covey, introduces a pioneering approach on how to resolve conflict through a powerful new way of problem solving. There is a time in everyone’s life where they are faced with strife and contention, 3rd Alternative thinkers bring creative solutions, peace, and healing. 

Throughout the book, key examples and stories from Covey’s work as a consultant are given. Those various groups and individuals offer living examples of how they were able to create new and better solutions instead of escalating their conflicts. They are also able to build stronger relationships with diverse people based on an attitude of respect and understanding.

In a traditional argument, there are two alternatives; my way and your way. The fight usually boils down to a question of whose way is better. One of the most common methods of resolving these conflicts involves compromise, in which everyone loses something. However, the 3rd Alternative’s breakthrough and easy-to-implement method uses a resolution where nobody has to give up anything, and everyone wins. It is not my way or your way, it’s our way, a higher and better way, that allows both parties to emerge from debate or even heated conflict to a far better place than either had envisioned.

Yet to arrive at the 3rd Alternative, one must pass through a process called synergy. And in order to synergize, both parties must enter a neutral ground where seemingly crazy and illogical ideas are permitted to be thrown out. Here one pushes himself to find a solution far better than what each party has come up with in the first place. This then leads to the creation of your "third alternative". Another way of stating this is that synergy is a transformation, an experience in which the pie you are about to share gets so exponentially bigger that everyone can't help but win. 

In the end, the 3rd Alternative represents a transformational problem solving method that unveils a radical, creative new way of thinking that goes beyond compromise and mediation.