Understanding Decision Triangle Solutions®
Updated: Sep 22, 2019
From the moment our day begins we make countless decisions: when to get up, what to wear, what to eat, and where to go. To us, every decision we make is the "best choice" given the information we have available to us at the time. Most decisions are made without thinking, are inconsequential, and cause no conflict.
Until our decision clashes with a decision made by somebody else.
For instance: two people A and B want to go have lunch together. Person A wants Chinese, Person B wants Italian. This incompatibility creates conflict that can be resolved in one of four ways:
Option 1) Disengage: A and B eat where they want but they eat alone
Option 2) Lose-Win: A suppresses their desire for Chinese and goes to eat Italian with B
Option 3) Win-Lose: A tries to get B to suppress their desire for Italian and eat Chinese with A
Option 4) Win-Win (the Decision Triangle Solutions® approach): A and B come to a mutually agreed-upon decision that is satisfying to both using accurate, balanced, and reciprocal perspective taking
Decision Triangle Solutions® is not a compromise. Compromises mean that both people give up something, which is some combination of the Lose-Win and Win-Lose options, it's just a matter of who is giving what up, how much, and how often. Compromises cause people to keep score, and resentment builds when things get of of balance. Decision Triangle Solutions® resolves conflict by accurately taking into account each other's perspective. This creates a true connection between two people who started out disagreeing with each other. In an era when people are silo-ed into their own views and follow the views of like-minded people, we don't always think about taking into account the perspective of another person, especially when that perspective is different than our own. Some could argue that doing so strengthens a community (or humankind in general), but it is especially important when dealing with people with whom we have a deeper relationship: a spouse, our parents, our children, our co-workers, and our friends.
Decision Triangle Solutions® begins with the assumption that every conscious person's perspective is equally valid. Thus, two people, making decision about some thing, such as where to go have lunch, contribute equally to making the decision that affects both people, thus creating an equal-sided triangle between the two people and the decision that they have to make. This method of reconciling difference deepens the connection between two people because each person feels not only validated by the other person but also validates the other person. Remember: a connection is bi-directional. It is not only important to be understood by someone else, but also (and to an equal degree) understand that other person.
It is a bold idea that every conscious person's perspective is equally valid. What if someone has an obviously wrong, harmful, or destructive perspective? Keep in mind that when this occurs, the other person is practicing either the Lose-Win or Win-Lose option of conflict resolution. It is tempting then to "balance" the interaction with an equal and opposite resolution to the conflict. Doing so may be more efficient, and we live in a time where speed and efficiency is valued over longer-term resolutions. However, it has been found that over time suppressing one's will or suppressing the will of someone else will backfire and cause even greater conflict or greater destructive behavior. Decision Triangle Solutions® resolves conflict using accurate, balanced, and reciprocal perspective taking. It takes time and effort from both individuals involved. However, doing so harnesses the strength and wisdom of our greater humanity, and promises to result in greater overall satisfaction in our relationships.
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