The 3rd Alternative by Stephen Covey

“There is a way forward…”

He is the author of among other popular titles, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families and then, The 8th Habit, which is a must read for anyone who chooses to be a dynamic, empowered leader who wants to empower others.

Stephen Covey is one of the writers who have made a great impact in my Emotional Intelligence Journey, and I am owning that choosing the 3rd Alternative as the first book for our book club was driven purely by that, possibly at the expense of starting with an easy read. My humble apologies. For this reason, after getting feedback from some of the Book club members, I made a commitment to facilitate the reading of this book by blogging parts, and then inviting discussion on line, after all, technology is there to break time and place barriers, so YES, let’s exploit this benefit.

This is 1 of 6 sessions that I will share about this book.

I want to start with this quote from Dr Covey:

“There is a way to solve the toughest problems we face, even those that look unsolvable. There is a path that cuts through nearly all life’s dilemmas and deep divisions. There is a way forward. It’s not your way, and it’s not my way. It’s a higher way. It’s a better way than any of us have thought of before.I call it “the 3rd Alternative.”

This book is the expansion of one of the 7 Habits of Highly effective people, Synergise, which he unpacks with this formula, 1 + 1 = 3<. It a humble, simple encouragement to consciously see that the other has got something that may be of benefit to you. That there is way more out there, than what you are aware off.

So, if at any time your attention is only 10% of your reality, then other people see the 90%. Their input has great potential of make you aware of a part of the 90%. What poverty if we cannot listen, and allow the 90% to influence what we do and how we do it! It puts us in a position of impoverishment and disadvantage.

Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Prize Winner 2006 says, “In The 3rd Alternative, Dr. Covey inspires us to think differently about solving problems than we have before. We must set aside our differences, including our boundaries, languages, economics, politics and cultures and work hand in hand together to create solutions which are greater than the problems we now face.”

From the onset, I am not going to necessarily focus on the conflict management side of this quote, and indeed of what The 3rd Alternative stands for, I am rather choosing to focus on a new approach that is available to us in our everyday activities. I am intrigued and excited by the prospect of using the rational of The 3rd Alternative to create in the most innovative way, and achieve what I never thought possible. So, I am intrigued at that I have the power to, “…set aside our differences, including our boundaries…”. I am exploring the possibility that I have the ability to ‘set aside my boundaries’, overcome my limitations, and go where I have never dared, just by using The 3rd Alternative as an approach to life.

The approach presents to us the ability to acknowledge our way of doing things that is typical, the way that we know would deliver yet looks so difficult and impossible, which is the ideal, and the possibility to look totally differently at a challenge, and achieve results that we could possibly never achieve. This, is my definition of The 3rd Alternative.

In the next blog, I will share my take on Chapter 2, which is a more detailed unpacking of this powerful phenomenon.

Welcome to the Executive Book Club.