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The 3rd Alternative

“The 3rd Alternative” is a management technique used for resolving conflicting situations. This is derived from understanding to use the age old American proverb, “There are three sides to every story — your side, my side, and the right side!”

Exactly who said the above is not very clear in the texts of history. History shows that way back from 1802, John Adams, the 2nd President of the United States of America popularized the use of this adage. The concept however, is sound even to today’s individual and organizational conflict situations and scenarios.

The most common reason why conflicts occur anywhere is ‘individual differences’. This could mean a difference of opinion between two people on how to perform a certain task, or a difference in the understanding or desire of goals to achieve, or in differences due to different cultural habits, or a difference in common interests, etc.

‘The 3rd Alternative’ is a powerful technique to use when there are individual differences that lead to a conflict. The process is as follows:

1. Find an individual, a 3rd person other than the 2 individuals involved in the conflict. Ensure that this person has the capacity and the intent to remain neutral and unbiased towards both the parties involved. This person serves as a mediator.
2. The 1st party submits their case to the mediator, from his/her perspective, with facts and emotions, with no interruptions, except from the mediator in case of an clarifications
3. The 2nd party submits their case to the mediator, from his/her perspective, with facts and emotions, with no interruptions, except from the mediator in case of an clarifications
4. The mediator steps away from the 2 parties and ponders over the situation at hand considering both the facts and feelings from both perspectives.
5. The mediator then comes up with a neutral and unbiased solution which would be as fair as it can be, and presents the solution to the 2 parties
6. The thoughts of the 2 parties on the proposed solution are listened to by the mediator
7. The mediator rethinks on his/her solution, alters it if need be, and presents it back to the 2 parties.

Though, this technique can also be done with one of the two individuals involved in the conflict taking on the role of the 3rd party, it is however not suggested so because it could later lead to assumptions of bias on part of the individual.

One of the examples of the ‘The 3rd Alternative’ can be found in the story of 2 brothers in a village who were left with a large plot of land and no will after their father’s untimely demise. They are at a loss as to how to divide the land equally between them such that it would not result in any unpleasant situations either then or later. So, under the assumption that he would be the best person to approach the situation from a neutral unbiased perspective, they go to the village head and ask for his help. “We love each other a lot”, they said to the village head, “and do not wish to fight now nor ever. We are confused how to resolve this situation without creating any unpleasantness. Please help us!” The village head comes up with a solution which, on first instance seems utterly ridiculous to the brothers. He says, “Toss a coin. Decide who says ‘heads’ and who ‘tails’. The winner of the coin toss would get the opportunity to divide the land into 2 parts, in whichever way he wishes to do so.” The brothers were aghast! How could the village head say this, they wondered? Wouldn’t it be awfully unfair to the other brother, they questioned? The village head smiled and then gave the remaining part of his solution. “The brother who wins the toss would get the opportunity to divide the land into 2 parts in whichever way he wishes to do so, but, the other brother would have the privilege of choosing which of the 2 parts he wishes to own!” The brothers walked away, happy, and marvelling the wisdom of the village head to look for the 3rd alternative!

Attempt to perceive the 3rd alternative! Resolve your conflicts…
You have the power!

Published in ‘The Hans India’ on 8th Sept 2011

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September 20, 2011 Posted by | The Hans India Newspaper | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Wrong Handshakes

In today’s corporate as well as cultural scenarios, maintaining certain accepted etiquettes are important. Etiquette can be defined as the forms, manners and ceremonies established by convention as acceptable or required in social relations, in a profession or in official life. Etiquette gets formed right from the word go and the initial handshake to the sustenance of perceptions over time. Technically, a handshake is known as a short ritual in which two people grasp one of each other’s opposite hands, in most cases accompanied by a brief up and down movement of the grasped hands.

As per a display in the Pergamon Museum, Berlin and other places, right from the 5th century BC times of ancient Greece, shaking hands while meeting has been a tradition between two soldiers and represented a truce where neither side wielded a weapon. The handshake slowly moved into the western culture and into the area of corporate etiquette. It is important for one to know how to successfully wield the customary handshake in a corporate scenario. Thus it is important to also know how not to give the ‘wrong’ handshake!

A handshake can reflect and let the other person perceive a lot about your personality. There are so many wrong ways to give a handshake. Some of them are as follows:
The Dead Fish: Patricia Rossi, the author of ‘Everyday Etiquette Made Easy’, calls this “The worst handshake in the world,”. This is when the hand is floppy and flimsy and project insecurity and non-commitment.
The Politician: This is when one shakes with the right hand and cover the shaking hands with their left hand. According to author Matthew Rothenberg, this feels too personal and too early in the relationship.
The Wrestler: This is so vigorous a handshake that can almost rip the other person’s arm out. It may convey that one is too eager and pushy
The Queen or The Fingertip: This is when one extends just their fingertips to another person. It conveys the feeling that the individual does not want to touch the other person.
I’m stronger than you are: This is crushing the bones in the other person’s hand so much just like trying to wring all the juice from a lemon. It makes it look like one needs to prove themselves.
The Oww!: This depicts an overeager person who may catch the other person so much by surprise on the handshake, that it becomes awkward for the other person.
Oh ok, I’ll just pretend to care about meeting you: This handshake can be very limp and apathetic and very awkward for the other person, and gives the impression that one is disinterested
We’re now bonded together for eternity: This is when a handshake does not end and just feels like eternity. This happens when people are a little too happy to greet you or who are extremely nervous and forget to let go. You do a few hand pumps…and then some more…and some more…and finally, hopefully, your hand is let go!
Aha! Am sure you didn’t see that one coming: This happens when the individual does something different, mostly out of nervousness. For instance, this can be when one is putting the left hand out for a handshake when everyone usually uses their right hand. This can lead to fumbling and even embarrassing situations. In these scenarios, it is a good idea to follow the crowd and use the right hand.
A good proper hand shake is called a ‘winning handshake’. It consists of a firm but not bone crushing grip and lasts about 3 seconds while maintaining good eye contact. The person has to be approximately 3 feet away. The hand has to be angled towards the chest with thumb pointing upwards. The other person’s hand can be ‘pumped’ once or twice from the elbow and then released, even if the introduction of the person continues.

Learn to meet, greet, part, offer congratulations, express gratitude, or complete an agreement well. Master the ‘right’ handshake!
You have the power!

Published in ‘The Hans India’ on 11 Aug 2011

August 30, 2011 Posted by | RevathiOnline Learning, The Hans India Newspaper | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Performance Coaching – The STAR Way

From the era of Ramayana and the Mahabharata in the times of Rama, Krishna, and Drone, performance coaching is an age old tradition in India. In today’s modern world of Shiba Maggon and Gary Kistern still follows the very same principles of the yester years coaching.

In the corporate scenario today, coaching works wonders in helping individual performers and teams achieve excellent results by introspecting within and working together. This not only contributes to the entire persona of the individual, but also and helps organizations move towards sustainable growth.

Coaching as a practice is not about telling one what to do. It is more about understanding the situation by asking questions and aiding the individual to arrive at the right solutions.

Corporate executive coaching requires working with an individual on a particular goal or result area in their professional development. It is usually a creative and thought provoking process by which the coach enables the coachee to think and maximize his/her potential and performance in the goal or result area under consideration. The various goal of coaching can be in areas of career management, performance enhancement, managing personal, professional and organizational changes, enhancing problem solving and creativity, effective conflict resolution, amongst many others.

A trained professional uses many techniques and methods of coaching, one of them also being the STAR model i.e. (a) Situation (b) Task (c) Action and (d) Result model.

The STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) format, an avid interviewer’s powerful tool can also be used as a coaching technique that can be used by executive coaches to help individual and teams enhance performance and productivity in specific areas or situations.
The STAR model can be used when the coach needs to help the coachee to re-visit an experience, learn from the same, and implement in the future.

For example, when there are conflicts occurring in a team, or certain organizational changes like mergers etc, this model works effectively. This is construed by making the coach and the coachee/team to sit together, explore the various facets and avenues of the existing situation through a series of questions, thus gather all the relevant information and there after arrive at a most applicable and sustainable possible solution.

• Situation: Take an example of a situation that can either work as a positive situation or a challenge. Explain and elaborate the situation with all specific details of all the tasks and individuals involved in the situation. Example: the recent disagreement of the employee and their supervisor over a client presentation.

• Task: The various tasks that led to this situation and can lead away from the situation are explored. By asking the appropriate questions such as: Why has this situation occurred in the first place? What has the individual done so as to be in this circumstance? What learning can we take away from the present situation, for the future? What can be done to arrive at a solution in this present scenario? Various options of possible further steps are enlisted.

• Action: What did you do? The earlier actions are re-visited, examined, and evaluated. The coach helps the coachee to identify the aspects in self that created the current situation, understand why it happened, and analyze on what action can be taken to (a) overcome the challenge now, as well as (b) learn to avoid repeating similar scenarios in the future. The various alternative action plans are drawn up and evaluated.

• Results: How was the current situation the outcome of the individual’s past actions? How did the past actions work against the objective the individual had? Once the individual is aware and has eliminated these same aspects in the current possibilities of action, further exploration into the possible outcomes or results of the action to be taken are analyzed. What will be the outcome of the current set of actions? What can the individual achieve through these actions to meet his/her objectives. How can the individual implement the learning from this experience?

The important aspect for a coach to remember while using the STAR model is the ability to ask the right questions and wait patiently for the coachee to explore the situation for possible answers. As a coach, one must always note to remember Winston Churchill saying “Personally I’m always ready to learn, although I do not always like to be taught.” Helping one learn themselves from their experience is the core of any coaching process.

Follow the STAR process, and coach away!
You have the power!

Published in ‘The Hans India’ newspaper on 4th Aug 2011

August 5, 2011 Posted by | The Hans India Newspaper, Training and Learning | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Happiness@Work™

Aristotle once said “Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.”

‘Happiness’, as we know, has been defined by an innumerable many, right from Mahatma Gandhi to the Dalai Lama in their own way. In this article the I define ‘happiness’ as ‘that state of mind that one wishes to come to instantly, so as to respond the way one needs to respond in any given situation or time towards any individual.

In this inspirational and motivational article, ‘Happiness’ is treated, not just as an abstract concept, but also as a few practical and implementable techniques that can be applied at any point in time so as to get one back to a state of positive energy!

The techniques are as follows:

1) Positive Attitude
As Herm Albright said, “A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.”

Positive attitude is about being able to look at situations with a positive outlook, being able to think positive, being able to take purposeful action towards one’s goals, no matter what the situation.

Research suggests that having the inner confidence that success shall come our way and that I can achieve what I want, helps us take on challenging tasks and goals at work.

2) Respond, don’t react
As Charles R. Swindoll puts it, “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.”

Behavioral pychology defines a human beings actions as ‘Response to Stimuli’ from the environemnt. Every time something happens, instead of reacting instantaneously, learn to pause and think of possible cause and effect, i.e., possible reasons and consequences. An attitude of responding is most important today because that is the one choice we have in life!

Research shows that as we learn to think and respond at work, conflicts reduce and more mature and composed discussions are possible, thus leading to effective teamwork and productivity.

3) Appreciation
As Voltaire said, “Appreciation is a wonderful thing: It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.”

Human beings desire appreciation. They are extremely happy when their efforts and talents are appreciated. Telling another that they are apprecited also increases an attitude of gratitude and humility within us.

Appreciating oneself for our accomplishments can be a powerful concept that helps us to constantly stay motivated, especially when no one else does so.

Research shows that in organizations, those constantly appreciated for their good work, tend to feel more motivated to accomplish their tasks successfully.

4) Imagine
Imagine here means to dare to dream.. to dare to think BIG!

Victor Frankl, who spent a few years in “Auschwitz”, said in his book “Man’s Search for Meaning”, that is it not the problem-free today that keeps one happy n motivated! A problem-free today is virtually not possible. It is, the things that one can look forward to in the future tomorrow, the things that one is yet to achieve, wants to reach n looks forward to doing, that help one be happy today!

Follow the following steps to Achieve Dreams!

4A) Dream Big

4B) Believe in Possibiliies

4C) Power of Visualization

4D) Tell your Network

4E) Planning n Prioritizing

4F) Hardwork n Passion

4G) Write n Review Goals

4H) Celebrate Success

Thus, to be able to get through anything today, and to stay accepting and happy, it is nice to remember where our career is heading, the reason why we are working, and our future plans with this finances and the learning.

5) Smile
As Phyllis Diller rightly said, “A smile is a curve that sets everything straight.”

By saying Smile@Work it does not mean to make work a place of humor. The seriousness of tasks that we do, their importance are not to be misjudged in any way. All we need to do is to constantly find something to feel good about at work, or even elsewhere. A smile on your face will brighten up not only your day, but also maybe another’s!

6) Excellence
Excellence for me is defined by Martin Luther King’s powerful “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michaelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”

Striving to perform the best that we can, living up to the standards set in the industry, working towards excellence in whatever we do, while also constantly learning to get better, gives us the motivtion to continue on the journey of our life.

When we strive to excel, we have something challenging to focus on, that uplifts our spirits and helps us re-enter the realm of happiness.

The above are a few simple practical techniques on being constantly happy at work!

Revathi Turaga
http://www.revathionline.com

July 5, 2011 Posted by | Training and Learning | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Myths about Training and Learning

interesting article I found… do not know whether the article is possibly true or the myths are… another question for discussion here is: does a MYTH become TRUE when most people start BELIEVE in it?

Myths about Training and Learning

Myths have a way of perpetuating themselves. There are quite a few related to training and learning too. Everyone seems to believe in them. So much so that they have become sacrosanct and no one even bothers to question them.

 

When I heard some for the first time, it was in the context of a training program that I was myself going through. My first reaction was: ‘Wow! That sounds incredible.’ In the enthusiasm of the collective wows that were generated, I accepted the myths as truth.

But I soon realized I was not comfortable believing in them. Intuitively, I knew they could not be true.

 

Now all these myths seemed to be backed up by solid research though. So I wondered if I was being my usual arrogant self by questioning these supposed universal ‘truths’.

But I started my probe anyway and what I found really warmed my heart! These were myths for sure, very similar to urban legends that get popularized without any sound basis. Read on and join me in smashing them.

 

Myth 1: You remember 10% of what you read, 20% of what you hear, 30% of what you see and 90% of what you do.

 

This is a widely repeated statement by trainers all over the world. Maybe you’ve been subjected to this statement at some time as well. I hope you have  The round figures are easily remembered but completelyJnot made it though. wrong.

 

The findings can be traced to one D.G. Treichler, an employee of Mobil Oil Company, who put forth these figures in 1967.

 

However, the NTL Institute for Applied Behavioral Science has laid claim to the figures, saying they are based on research in the early sixties and bizarrely adding that ‘we no longer have – nor can we find – the original research that supports the numbers’.

Though, there are many arguments against these figures, one that is most obvious is that all the percentages are perfectly round. What research into human behaviour ever resulted in four different round numbers?

 

Myth 2: In communication, only 7% of the meaning is conveyed through the speaker’s words, 55% through his facial expressions and the rest 38% through tone of voice.

 

I am sure you have come across this lulu too, especially if you have attended communication or NLP programs. In one sweeping statement, words are reduced to an insignificant role in the great game of communication.

 

Yet, when we think about this deeply, the fallacies start becoming obvious. Is it really possible that if I get lost in Shanghai and ask a passer-by for directions, I’ll have to work out the correct route mostly from their facial expressions and tone of voice, and not from the words they use?

 

The findings are attributed to research done by Mehrabian but, in reality, they are just a distorted version of what Mehrabian himself has to say on his website. He expresses the results of his research in the form of an equation:

 

Total liking = 7% verbal liking + 38% vocal liking + 55% facial liking

 

He explains that “this and other equations regarding relative importance of verbal and nonverbal messages were derived from experiments dealing with communications of feelings and attitudes (i.e. like-dislike). Unless a communicator is talking about their feelings or attitudes, these equations are not applicable.”

 

Myth 3: We use 10% of our brain (or anywhere from 1% to 15% depending upon where you have read it).

 

This one is so popular, even Albert Einstein is usually roped in as one of the endorsers! The media too has played a role in orchestrating this myth. Many of us therefore look at it as given.

 

Scientists have tried for years to change this misconception. They have clearly stated that there is no scientific evidence to suggest that we use only 10% of our brains. In fact it is very hard to say what using just 10% of your brain means.

It could mean that I could cut 90% of my brain and be just fine or that I just use only one out of every ten nerve cells at any one time. Let’s attack this one with common sense.

 

First of all, it is obvious that the brain, like all other organs, has been shaped by natural selection. Brain tissue is metabolically expensive both to grow and to run.

It strains credulity to think that evolution would have permitted squandering of resources on a scale necessary to build and maintain such a massively underutilized organ.

 

Secondly, losing far less than 90 percent of the brain to accident or disease has catastrophic consequences. Various medical tests reveal that there does not seem to be any area of the brain that can be destroyed without leaving the patient with some kind of functional deficit.

 

Likewise, electrical stimulation of points in the brain during neurosurgery has failed so far to uncover any dormant areas where no percept, emotion or movement is elicited by applying these tiny currents.

 

Having dug hard and deep, I find no evidence at all to support this myth.

The most powerful lure of the myth is probably the idea that we might develop psychic abilities, or at least gain a leg up on the competition by improving our memory or concentration.

 

All this is available for the asking, the ads say, if we just tapped into our most incredible of organs, the brain. It is past time to put this myth to rest, although if it has survived at least a century so far, it will surely live on into the new millennium.

 

The next time you are subjected to this one, just ask the speaker politely “Oh? What part don’t you use?”

 

Author: Shalu Wasu ;  Source: Tickled by Life

 

About Revathi Turaga

Revathi Turaga is an international Meta Mind Management trainer, inspirational speaker, and behavioral coach.

Based in Hyderabad and heading GAMMA’s business development corporate operations in South India, she holds certifications and trains in Edward de Bono ‘s Six Thinking Hats and lateral Thinking, NLP certified practitioner, Creativity, Positive Attitude and Excellence Workshops of Meta Mind Management, psychometric assessments and profiling tools such as DISC, MBTI, PAPI & 16PF, Dale Carnegie’s Presentation skills, etc. She can be reached at +91 98666 45870 or info@revathionline.com. Visit http://www.revathionline.com

November 19, 2008 Posted by | Training and Learning | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment