What can I do to win the cooperation of an important alliance: using Option Solving?

It wasn’t so long ago that I was discussing with a senior operations executive about his challenge of building a more productive relationship with a key business alliance. He advised me that the entity in question wasn’t that easy to work with, owing to the personalities involved, even though the prize of an effective relationship would be considerable for both parties.
It was only natural to encourage this executive to think about his own style of operating, for him to understand to what extent he was either helping or hindering things. Unfortunately, as is the case with a number of executives, his rather brusque and domineering style was clearly not helping the situation. Even so, I thought, if I could get him to come up with positive solution, perhaps I could also encourage him to look at his own style in the mix.
By explaining to him the option solving technique, he was intrigued to work with it as a way on unearthing a viable solution. After running through the various 6-7 steps, we set out to create the most appropriate question starting with: What can I do to win the cooperation of an important alliance: considering…?
Together we produced a listing of five considerations and he decided to incorp-orate all of them, which included: “The financial sensitivities involved, egos at stake, safety issues involved, need to optimize reliability, and the huge prize of success. Go to the blog’s Latest Example to see the question in full.
Now his question was ready, he set about producing two “bookends”. Two extreme, “yin and yang” options that would test his intuitive mind to reject them in a search for more appropriate options. Simultaneously, they would also set limits on the range of option possibilities. After some thought and discussion, two bookends emerged: “Get rid of current alliance (although there were few viable alternatives available),” and “Do it ourselves (this would mean a major invest-ment).”
His intuition could not buy-into these extreme options, so he quickly started searching for alternatives. Note how he qualified each extreme stance with a rationale as to why they were unacceptable: a further nudge to his intuitive powers. With these testy “bookends,” his intuitive mind started racing to find better options.
You will observe how he produced an interesting range of 5 options, which can be viewed in the blog’s Latest Example. One of them included: “Stand back and be hands off.” You will notice he came up with four other rather thoughtful options, also to be found in our Latest Example.
We took a break for about 15 minutes to permit some “emotional distancing.” We discussed some other quite unrelated issues, with our original picture of options turned over on the table, so we could concentrate on something else for a while. It was important to allow his intuitive mind to work its subconscious magic and chew over the options, at the same time seeking comparisons from past experiences…all in a relative instant.
When we turned the sheet back over, he took a few moments (literally) to review the contents and then made his choice. This choice was to work best for him and the situation as he saw it. I didn’t waste this epiphany moment, since I used it to also talk about his own style as well as his next steps: both of which reinforced a positive outcome from his perspective. He could now, all of a sudden, see a clear way for moving forward, which is quite satisfying as you will already appreciate.
If you have an example of your own, please share it with this blogger, through the COMMENTS area. Thanks Option Solving. (NOTE: Next posting in 2 weeks: ‘What can I do to win a second chance?’ Let’s have your COMMENTS or go to peter@ileadershipsolutions.com to connect with the blogger.)


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