Securing Ongoing, Emergency Accreditation: using Option Solving?


Not so long ago I spent some time with a college department chair to demonstrate the power of Option Solving. Jerry quickly presented his most immediate dilemma which was the need to secure accreditation for a new animal technician course. His college had recently merged the animal technician course of a two year community college into their own program, but needed accreditation to continue running it as a two year program. The college had overlooked the accreditation agency, which had put his group on 60 day notice to complete the process. Accreditations usually take up to two years to prepare for.

Using this as our practical example, we set to work with phrasing Jerry’s  option solving question, which started out as: What is my best option right now to secure emergency, ongoing accreditation, considering…” Then we listed seven different considerations to provide the right context, of which he chose four – two of which were, Overcome a political SNAFU with the accreditation board” and “Challenge staff to meet a critical deadline” –see our Latest Example for the rest. It is advisable to cut any list of considerations by 50%, notwithstanding uneven numbers, so as not to make the question too complex and unwieldy.

Now that Jerry had put his overall question in place, he was encouraged to come up with two yin and yang “bookends,” so as to form an option framework and to flush out unlikely extremes. From this, one of them was, Don’t pursue accreditation” – see latestexample. The other was, Pull off accreditation within 30 days.” Our example indicates why these were untenable.

 Bookends like these also tweaked Jerry’s intuition to find more appropriate options. You can see his picture of five possible options: one of which was, Approach State Board to assist with accreditation issue” – Option E. He produced at least five, in order to stretch his creative thinking as much as possible – see latest example.

It was now time to invoke emotional distancing, so as to allow time for Jerry’s intuitive mind to chew over his full question and option picturebefore choosing. So we turned it over and talked for about ten to fifteen minutes about several other issues we were both contemplating: none of them related to the topic at hand. We knew full well that his intuitive mind would be rapidly working through his alternatives, relative to thousands of other experiences he had dealt with, during this interim period

 When the time came, we turned over the picture and Jerry quickly scanned it again to refresh his thinking. Without hesitation, he made his choice. At this point, I challenged him to come up with Next Steps, while his thinking was still absorbed with the subject at hand. These next steps would help him push forward once we had gone our separate ways. The last I heard, everything was on track and Jerry was very happy with his choice. Option Solving does that for you.

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: “Do we allow ourselves to become a dealer for an overseas supplier?” Let’s have your COMMENTS or go to to connect with the blogger.)



Peeling the Onion -Retaining a key family member in the business: using Option Solving?


The two business partners agreed to share their preferred option with Jenny and then get together with her before the end of the week to figure out a “Peel the Onion” solution.  They wanted her to organize regular social sessions so that their executive team would become much closer and Jenny would be drawn into the team that much more. She would be the organizer of whatever was decided.

When they got together, Jenny was already on-board and was eager to participate in the session led by the partners. They put their question together –see the Latest Example – and added in the key considerations. There were four again, one of which was: “Respect people’s personal life.”

Once their question was in place, they dug up two yin and yang “bookends” again: one of which was “Once every three months” – see latestexample. It shows why they were likely to reject it. Again, these bookends aided the priming of their intuitions to find more plausible options.

You can view their picture of five plausible options: one of which was, “Monthly wine and cheese with guest speaker” – Option A. They produced at least five options, in order to stretch their thinking as much as possible. At this point, they felt the wisest thing was to have a meeting of all members of the key team, including the partners, to share this option solving picture; allow some discussion, adjustments or additions; and then give everyone a confidential vote. This way there would be maximum buy-in.

When that moment came, they would incorporate emotional distancing before voting and then work out Next Steps. We can say that this happened, they made their choice, and so far the team is building very nicely. Jenny was also feeling that much more like an insider and was building a strong desire to stay.

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: “Securing emergency accreditation?” Let’s have your COMMENTS or go to to connect with the blogger.)