The fruit of compromise
The multimillion-selling author of
His publisher has presented
Is this a bad thing? No. If you have read The 7 Habits (which may now be slightly dated), you might find
The last person to widely use the term the "Third Alternative" as an approach to living was the late Muammar Gaddafi, whose
Covey is a nard-boiled capitalist, and a Mormon - so there's an element of religiosity in his work, but his grasp of economics is vastly superior to that of the late Libyan dictator's.
In any conflict, the first alternative is "my way" and the second, is "your way". The fight usually rages over the question of whose way is "better". There are numerous methods of "conflict resolution," but most involve grudging compromise
Covey amplifies his message by means of wide-ranging examples of "third alternative thinkers". There's the local police force that transformed a crime-plagued community by casting off its entrenched "them against us" mentality.
Another example tells the tale of a father who, during the course of one extraordinary evening, rescued his daughter from years of clinical depression. Then there's the judge who brought a swift and peaceful end to an environmental lawsuit without stepping into a courtroom.
Like many of the titles examined in this column,
But back to the man who started it all. Speaking to the press recently, about his new release, Covey explained: "Most negotiators are trying to get their way. Through rounds of haggling, they usually arrive at a compromise, in which both sides concede something to get an agreement."
By contrast, a "Third Alternative" requires no concessions at all - because it's truly a better deal for everyone. "You get to it not by haggling, but by asking, `Would you be willing to go for a Third Alternative that is better than what either of us has in mind?' "
And that's the message in a nutshell. Of course, win-win compromise is a very tough nut to crack for those in the corporate community - and compromising with grace, more so.
Clearly, Covey is doing something right as he has been - for the past 20 years.