Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The 8th Habit ... Dynamic of a Third Alternative

by Dale Shumaker
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 ...

Monday, November 12, 2012

Love Works ... here's how

by Dale Shumaker
Spirit Savvy Network

Love Works is by Joel Manby, CEO of Herschend Family Entertainment(Silver Dollar City), Branson, Missouri. Manby qualifies that the principles of Love in a business enterprise really work. Love is a verb. Treating someone with love regardless of how you feel about that person is a very powerful principle.

Love exists in four dimensions. Eros is a love that is based on feeling and physical attractions; philos is a love of those we like to hang out with; storge is a natural love of family members; agape is an unconditional love. In an organization agape love works. Manby explains how.

Agape love is a God-inspired love. It holds its context in a Spiritual love. Its definition is that it is patient, kind, trusting, unselfish, truthful, forgiving, and dedicated. Here's how love works in any group, organization, business environment.

To be patient is to have self control in difficult situations. You don't need to be patient with poor performance, but be patient in how you respond to poor performance. Praise patiently in public and admonish patiently in private. When you praise be specific and exact, legitimate(avoiding insincere praise). When you admonish always remember to protect a person's dignity, get to the point and be specific. Reaffirm a person's value and get the person back on the horse, and don't bring it up again. Praise more than admonish in a ratio of 3 to1.

Show encouragement and enthusiasm. When the leader is kind it will influence the front line employees who interact directly with the customers. Every time you contact a person you can make their day better or worse, so why not make their day better. And it can require very little action or effort on your part. Break through the email clutter and write handwritten notes. Don't overlook writing supporting notes to spouses. Think of CEO as chief encouragement officer... we all can be CEO's.

Place confidence in someone. Listening carefully is a sign of trust. Interrupting people is a sign of distrust. Create trust by following your own declaration to things you do or prefer a certain way. Let others make a decision they are responsible for. Avoid overriding a decision that has been made unless it is absolutely necessary.

Think of yourself less. Give until it helps. Give money, give talent, give time. Be unselfish in making decisions, include others and make as few decisions as possible as a leader. Ask more questions, facilitate discussion, summarize discussion and recommend best direction.

Define reality corporately and individually. Don't shoot the messenger or confuse disagreement with conflict. Don't assume people see the truth... speak up. Getting the truth creates the best decisions. Find accountability people who will tell you the truth about yourself.

Release the grip on the grudge. What is most important is how you respond to what is done to you, more than what is actually done. Forgive those who have wronged your organization, and give someone another chance if it is a one-time offense. Be slow to fire and quick to forgive. Many times giving someone a second change doesn't work out well, but give it a shot anyways. The longer you hold a grudge the longer it will hold you. When you forgive you feel released to love, rebuild the relationship and not hold on to anger. It also gives the person you have forgiven a fresh start. It creates a ripple that affects the whole organization.


Stick to your values in all circumstances. Use both love and power. Jesus gave an example of how to do have power and show love. Reward people in both performance goals and character goals...that's "do" and "be" goals. It is possible to lead with love in difficult times. When faced with difficult decisions, lead with love.

A Choice you Make
Be the change you want to see in the world. Love when others don't. It is easier to hit the numbers than lead with love. Everyone one matters. You have a strong influence regardless of what position you take. Everyone is dealing with something so help people get through it. Love helps others get through their own struggles. "Be" goals, working to "be" a person of love, are as important as "do" goals, accomplishing what you want to accomplish. Working on "be" goals are not easy. Schedule time for "be" goals just like you do your "do" goals. Our life counts when we are in alignment with our set of values and we live them out daily. That takes a personal focus and effort.

Show the world that love works.

More on Love Works and Joel Manby at:

As Manby mentioned in his book, so what does love have to do with it?

Everything... according to Jesus.

"'You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.' 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' 40 The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments."
(Matthew 22: 37-40, NLT)

Jesus simply said....

All the laws ever given are based on this commandment to love God with all our hearts, mind and soul and love everyone else the same way. And treat them the same way we would want to be treated... with respect and consideration of who we are.
And if we do this we make complete all the laws that exist.

The next challenge is to define love.
Paul said love is "patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance."
(1 Corinthians 13:4-7, NLT)

Interestingly, very little is said about achievement. It's about character. Actually, achievement was down played by Paul the Apostle. If you don't have love he said, everything else you do is worthless.

"If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it, but if I didn't love others, I would have gained nothing."
(1 Corinthians 13:3, NLT)

We have an achievement-based society. Money makes the world go round, but the admonishment was to have only one debt, one obligation, and that is to love each other.

"Owe nothing to anyone—except for your obligation to love one another. If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God's law."
(Romans 13; 8, NLT)

It boils down to that He loves us to the level that he is co-signing with us so that we have His assets as well. We share in all He has to the infinite extend of His glorious riches... Through our legal counsel Jesus Himself. Jesus, is our petitioner and is our power of attorney to all of God's wealth... materially, but most of all in our spirit and emotions. To love as Jesus loved.

This love is boundless and makes us happy like we never can fully understand.