All hail the king of motivational theory and practice, and reigning monarch of corporate leadership coaching. Stephen R. Covey is approaching the big eight-O now, but the acuity of his mind is as impressive as ever, on the evidence of The 3rd Alternative.
The multimillion-selling author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People - which in 1989 kick started the genre - is acknowledged by many, including this reviewer, as one of the most influential business texts of the 20th century.
His publisher has presented The 3rd Alternative as a wholly fresh work. But this is slightly misleading. What this is, in actuality, is a well-penned and timely rehash of the book that made his name, thanks to its ground-breaking focus on the importance of synergy, and on the win-win paradigm.
Is this a bad thing? No. If you have read The 7 Habits (which may now be slightly dated), you might find The 3rd Alternative underwhelming. If you haven't, it would behove you to go straight to this, which has similar content and almost identical messages, but is written from a 21st-century perspective.
The last person to widely use the term the "Third Alternative" as an approach to living was the late Muammar Gaddafi, whose Green Book expounded an alternative to communism and capitalism.
Covey is a nard-boiled capitalist, and a Mormon - so there's an element of religiosity in his work, but his grasp of economics is vastly superior to that of the late Libyan dictator's.
The 3rd Alternative presents productive approaches to conflict resolution and creative problem solving. In these pages, Covey unveils a powerful methodology that he claims can resolve thorny professional and personal conflicts, and yield solutions to apparently intractable challenges.
In any conflict, the first alternative is "my way" and the second, is "your way". The fight usually rages over the question of whose way is "better". There are numerous methods of "conflict resolution," but most involve grudging compromise
The 3rd Alternative goes further - it's about creating, what Covey terms, "a new and improved reality". A departure from the usual strateg