What is the Third Alternative?

In the last two weeks there have been several conversations about change and about the changing organization of companies, sometimes from within and sometimes because of mergers or acquisitions. How does an acquired company remain viable and exciting enough to create a lasting positive impact and be recognized as a business expander?

Collaboration includes the possibility that conversation is a form of research and development. We have been talking about collaborative leadership and team alignment as a source of success. Within the Team Alignment model we explore and expand communication, accountability and solution focus.

A colleague who was studying my work recommended The Third Alternative, by Steven Covey as being a relevant resource to support our work in collaborative leadership and alignment.

I too recommend this as a formula for moving communication and connection to a new level that will bring in the high performance aspect especially when it comes to creative thinking and innovation. The most important leverage point for effective communication is the implementation process of a great innovative idea.

In the team alignment model there are powerful communication exercises that bring in more familiarity and more connection between team members who can then form partnerships for completion with an expanded awareness of the other person.

In the Third Alternative the aspect of self- awareness, and the awareness of the other person, are leveraged to create the possibility of a third alternative that is new and original. It is an opportunity to move the mindset from two alternatives to the third alternative which is born out of the communication that includes speaking and listening with openness about the two alternatives that each speaker or speakers bring to the table.

The third alternative is the innovative one that overcomes the limitations of the first two and cannot be found without the listening and the consideration of the first two. The old saying that “the whole is greater than the sum of the parts” is given a new meaning when the approach of considering the third alternative is used.

The model of the Third Alternative includes self-awareness, the ability to approach another with the mindset of curiosity about what they bring, and the willingness to listen. As the discussion moves forward, there is fertile ground for creativity so that a new solution can appear. This will take some dedication and practice.

If you have a question, challenge or particular success story you would like to share, be sure to leave a comment, I would enjoy hearing from you. – Patricia