Spirit Savvy Network
One of the most profound concepts in The 8th Habit by Stephen Covey is what he calls finding the Third Alternative. That is combining ideas to create an idea that is better than any one person’s idea. It is getting a consensus from the group that they will work toward building solutions, bigger than any one person. This manifests a distinctive synergy, transformational Third Alternative.
To get there, Covey discusses the following skills that must be in place and functioning in a healthy way in a group.
“Communication is without a doubt the most important skill in life…”
This includes reading, writing , speaking and listening. Most of our communication time is listening. Covey notes that no more than 5% of us have had more than two weeks of formal training in how to listen.
Listening has five levels… ignoring, pretend listening (patronizing), selective listening, attentive listening…. But the ideal level is empathic listening… that is listening within the other person's frame of reference.
Perception skills are critical for effective emphatic listening. He outlines four important things to learn about communication through the perception experience.
1. We have to be sincerely open… the foundation for arriving at third alternative solutions.
2. Take into consideration others’ life experiences and allow time to explain “why” they see it that way and what has led to it.
3. There isn’t just one way to interpret something. Each vision needs shared and merged.
4. Most communication breakdowns are products of semantics…how people define words from their experience.
One good listening rule is to use the Indian Talking Stick. It is an artfully carved about 5 feet high stick that Indian chief’s used in discussions. The only one who could speak was the one holding the Talking Stick. And the Talking Stick was not passed on until the person speaking felt understood by everyone else. You explained back to a person what he said until the person with the Talking Stick felt you understand him. When that person was satisfied that you understood him, you were given the Talking Stick. And then, you could take your turn and share your ideas, while holding the Talking Stick.
Over 90% of all communication problems are caused by differences in semantics or perception. What I think you are saying may not be what you mean, based on my experiences in contrast to yours. No one knows the experiences that have brought you to the conclusions you have, unless you explain them. For true understanding this must be sorted out.
According to Covey, to reach third alternatives, ideas better than the combination of each person’s ideas, these two rules apply.
1. Would you be willing to search for a solution that is better than what either one of us have proposed?
2. Would you agree to a simple ground rule: No one can make his or her point until they have restated the other person’s point to his or her satisfaction?
This forces discussion into a group synergy that kindles harmony and ground-breaking ideas higher than any one person of the group. This is a very powerful concept that pushes groups, or any discussion by any number people, to higher resolve and outcomes with exceptional impact.
The power of blending voices was acknowledged at Babel, in the Bible. The people of ancient times wanted to build a tower that reached up to the heavens. And God said because they are one people, one language, “nothing will be impossible for them.” God made man to have great power when united as one voice.
If they worked together as one, all the power of God's created universe was at their disposal and everything they set out to do would be done. God’s Spirit built this system of Spirit in His human creation. Their motives were self-centered, void of respect to God, their creator. So God scrambled their language so they would not be one voice and have unconquerable power.
In Malachi, its says those who feared, respectfully honored, the Lord spoke to each other and God responded to what they were talking about.
To the Corinthians, the Apostle said, “we have the mind of Christ.”
"We" as one unit, have the mind of Christ. As one mind, we are transfigured into the Mind of Jesus Spirit, the Ultimate, Unmatchable Spirit.
Jesus emphatically requested of God that we be One.
"That they be One, just as We are One. I in Them and You in Me, that they may be perfected into One." If all of Jesus Spirit is in "Us" and all of the Spirit of God is in Jesus, we then walk with a huge armory of Power. All of God's world creating Spirit is with us.This is what makes this principle so powerful.
When we are one, we have the mind of Jesus and His Spirit is with us... works on our behalf because it is His mind governing thoughts, directing widespread, prevailing actions. When as One Voice, we come together, taking all we say and blending it with others, we blend into the Mind of Jesus in what we discuss. While on the human level, one voice brings power as noted in Babel.
We see on the Spiritual level even greater Power, which yields unexplainable results by being One Voice ...