Forming the right collaborative relationship with another group:by means of Option Solving!


Not so long ago I was in the company of a senior academic executive. As a relative newcomer, he was trying to make his mark and one of the things he was conscious of was the need to improve collaboration with his academic affairs group, which had become strained over the years.

We quickly got around to framing a suitable question to inspire his intuitive, creative juices to move into high gear. As you will see in the Latest Example: we started with the words; “What is my best option for forming a really collaborative relationship with academic affairs, considering…” We then looked at some considerations and decided to focus on: “…the need to overcome a historical divide, the feeling of Student Affairs  being viewed as a ‘step-child’, to gain allies for various future programs, and firming-up the realization that education occurs both outside (as well as inside) the classroom?”


With this in place, we could now start digging into finding the best ‘bookends’ (extreme options) to further frame and prod his intuitive mind to develop the ultimate best range of options. The bookends (the Ying and the Yang) which emerged were: “Sit on the situation as is” and “Set up shop in the same offices as academic affairs.” Now these were in place, he was able to come up with likely options, some of which you will see in the latest example. Again, we’ve limited these because it’s unreal to expose others to options that they cannot judge one way or the other, since they were not in my client’s spot.

In this executive’s case, once we had worked through the option solving scenario, I encouraged him to use it as an outline “cheat sheet” where he could go through the same exercise with his nine key leaders as a team exercise. The added advantage, by doing it with his team, is that he can get nine independent votes from a confidential poll. Out will come the “wisdom of his crowd,” which will be much wiser than any decision he takes on his own. He will also gain the “buy-in” of his team, too. What more can you ask?

Please refer to the Latest Example to view the overall picture of a recent solution. 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: “Using Option Solving to decide on ‘Our options for eliminating the budget deficit?’”  You’re your COMMENTS or go to peter to connect with the blogger.)