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Evaluating Options

Evaluating Options

Author: marlene johnson

At the end of this tutorial, the learner will understand how to help parties evaluate options for fit with interests and feasibility

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Video Transcription

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The goal the conflict resolution process is to bring the parties who are in conflict together and help them work towards a solution that will meet the mutual needs of both parties. Well, I'm Marlene, and today I'd like to talk with you about how you evaluate options during this process, how you help the parties look at the options they generated, and come up with the best possible options.

So at this point, we've been working with the parties in conflict, we've uncovered their interests. Now, the interests are the real reasons that the parties are there. It's what they need to have happen in order for them to walk away and feel satisfied.

Once we looked at the interests, we brainstormed options for how we could meet Party A's interests, Party B's interests, and their mutual interests. And we didn't evaluate; we just brainstormed as many ideas as possible. We now have this long list of ideas, and we need to evaluate.

So how do we go about evaluating this long list of options? Well, the intervener definitely wants to check in on the desirability of each option with the parties, Party A and Party B. What do they think about these options? Because this really is their solution. They have to be happy with it.

So you ask questions and check in with them on how they feel about the options. If something-- they don't like it, it doesn't work, you throw it off, you take it off the table. Now, there are other reasons that you might find some options are not feasible. OK?

Feasibility, of course, has to do with how possible is it to actually take a particular action. I mean, it might look like a good option, but can we do it? Can we do it?

So let's take a look here. Let's say we're looking at one of the needs, and we'll say that the parties here are two sisters who've come together. And they've been in conflict because of the care of their mother, who's elderly and still living at home.

They both have been sharing this care. They're siblings out of state, but they live close by, and it's become a burden. And it's created conflict. So they're looking for ways to supplement this care. How can we move forward?

So they've come up with the number of options here. And we'll pretend this is our list of options here for ways to alleviate the burden here and move forward in the care of their mother.

So as they look at these, perhaps they see one here and, hey, this one looks pretty good. But, you know, we can't really move ahead with that when we think about it because it's going to cost too much. You know, it involves taking mother some place where we have to pay, and I think it's going to be too expensive.

So there might be some financial considerations here. Or maybe even availability. So we might have to cross that one off right now because we just can't make that happen.

Then maybe we're going to look at this one down here, and that looks pretty good. This involves, you know, changing the way that we are working together to care for mom. But, you know, actually, it involves some time constraints around the schedule for one of the parties.

So Party A says, you know, that really isn't going to work for me. I can't work with that particular option because of time constraints in my schedule. So we're going to have to cross that one out.

There is any number of reasons why an option might not be feasible. You just can't move forward on it.

Now, there's another reason why an option might be feasible. It looks very good. You've come up with an idea here. Hey, why don't we bring in some outside help and perhaps get some of the other family members to help pay?

I mean, there's a financial problem here, but maybe we can get other people to help pay. Let's just do that. Now, maybe that is a good idea, but you can't make the decision for these outside family members because they're not at the table.

So you can't say, we will do this. This is the solution. Unless you bring them to the table.

So the conflict resolution process is an iterative process. We may have to return here to the question. How can we work with other family members? Maybe some who don't live in the community. They live in other states. They live elsewhere. Friends, family, to see if they might help us financially. Bring in some help.

Interesting question. Maybe we go back to the questioning phase and that becomes the question we want to look at. Or maybe we call some people and bring them into the process. Or we return at a later date after we have contacted people.

So you may find the parties start looking at the issue a little differently based on evaluating these options. So this option here of asking people to help financially is a good one. But you can't decide on it for other people. Everybody has to be present at the table.

So these are some reasons why things might not be feasible. They involve other people, there's time, money, other kinds of restraints. And then, of course, you might look at this list, and there's a couple things left here.

Maybe this one is perfectly fine. And so is this one. And so you've got a couple of options here that are feasible, that you can move ahead with. So if that happens, you might end the process here, come to a couple of options that are workable. And then we'll move into the next steps.

If not, perhaps we have to return to the drawing table here and ask the question again. Bring others to the table. So the evaluative part of this process is an interesting piece, an important piece, a piece where the parties are really working together, jointly, to come up with the best possible solution.

So thank you for joining me, and I look forward to next time.

Terms to Know

The degree to which a proposed action or solution is actually possible.