From the multimillion-copy bestselling author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People—hailed as the #1 Most Influential Business Book of the Twentieth Century—The 3rd Alternative introduces a breakthrough approach to conflict resolution and creative problem solving. One of Time magazine’s 25 most influential Americans, Dr. Stephen R. Covey has helped millions transform their lives. In The 3rd Alternative, Covey turns his formidable insight to a powerful new way to resolve professional and personal difficulties and create solutions to great challenges in organizations and society.
In any conflict, the 1st Alternative is my way and the 2nd Alternative is your way. The fight usually boils down to a question of whose way is better. There are many methods of “conflict resolution,” but most involve compromise, a low-level accommodation that stops the fight without breaking through to amazing new results. The 3rd Alternative is about more than just an armistice—it’s about creating a new and improved reality. A departure from the usual approaches to conflict resolution, negotiation, and innovation, this book reveals a new way of thinking that will be embraced not only by the many fans who have flocked to Covey’s prior books, but also by anyone who is seeking solutions in their professional or personal lives.
The 3rd Alternative transcends traditional solutions to conflict by forging a path toward a third option, a 3rd Alternative that moves beyond your way or my way to a higher and better way—one that allows both parties to emerge from debate or even heated conflict in a far better place than either had envisioned. With the 3rd Alternative, nobody has to give up anything, and everyone wins.
To a world of escalating strife and contention, 3rd Alternative thinkers like those Covey profiles here bring creative solutions, peace, and healing. Through key examples and stories from his work as a consultant, Covey demonstrates the power of 3rd Alternative thinking. His wide-ranging examples include: a Canadian metropolitan police force that transformed a crime-plagued community by abandoning their “them vs. us” mentality and changing the whole definition of police work; a father who rescued his troubled daughter from years of despair and near suicide in one surprising evening; a judge who brought a quick, peaceful end to one of the biggest environmental lawsuits in American history without setting foot in a courtroom; the principal of a high school for the children of migrant workers who raised their graduation rate from a dismal 30 percent to 90 percent and tripled their basic skill levels; a handful of little-known people who are quietly finding new ways to bring peace to the Middle East; and many others. These various groups and individuals offer living examples of how to create new and better results instead of escalating conflict, as well as how to build strong relationships with diverse people based on an attitude of winning together.
Beyond conflict and compromise, The 3rd Alternative unveils a radical, creative new way of thinking. It is a groundbreaking but practical work that demonstrates why 3rd Alternative thinking represents the supreme opportunity of our time.