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Prioritizing and Interlinking Options

Prioritizing and Interlinking Options

Author: marlene johnson

At the end of this tutorial, the learner will be able to help parties evaluate potential options to include in a solution

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Video Transcription

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So how do parties in conflict come up with solutions that are really workable when they are part of a conflict resolution process? Well, I'm Marlene, and I'd like to talk with you about that today.

We've been talking about the conflict resolution process, how it works, how when parties come into the process they both have a chance to speak, be heard, and share their needs. And the goal here is to uncover the real interests and needs that the parties have. What they really need to have happen in order to walk away and feel satisfied.

Once we've made a list of those needs, those interests, we brainstorm options for meeting the needs. And after we brainstormed a long list of options, we move into the evaluative phase, and we evaluate the options.

So we evaluate them in terms of their feasibility. Are these really going to work? Are there any reasons why they're not going to work so we just can't consider them? Are there other people that need to be at the table to help make the decision? Because we can't make decision for others.

But once we have taken off that list anything that's not feasible or anything that really doesn't fit the interest of either party, we're left with a list that we can now organize. So we want to organize these options that are all favorable-- parties have decided these are favorable options and they're feasible, we want to organize them. How do we do that?

Well, we set priorities by any number of factors. The first factor is the importance to both parties. What here, as we look at this long list, is really most important? We really want to set that first.

And there could be any other number of factors that would help us set priorities. Perhaps time is a factor. OK, we've got to do some things before we do other things just because of time constraints, because of deadlines. So depending on context, any number of things can help us set priorities.

Then, once we set the priorities, we want to interlink these options. What do I mean by interlink? We want to show the relationship here, the collaborative relationship, between the parties. And we can do that simply by how we state the options, how we word things in terms of the agreements here.

Let me give you an example. We have Party A here is agreeing to do x to meet B's need. And B will do y to meet A's need. So we have actually stated these commitments, these options, that the parties have agreed to in ways that really show the collaborative nature.

For example, if Party A happened to be a landlord and Party B was a tenant and there had been conflict here over a payment of the rent, over needed repairs, over any number of things, perhaps as they begin to prioritize for the landlord, getting the rent on time or making sure that he gets the rent every month, would be at the top of his list. Whereas for the renter, making sure he gets those plumbing repairs done in the bathroom is at the top of his list.

So we write this up in a way that shows the collaborative nature here. OK? We put the tenant, we'll call him Tom-- our tenant his named Tom, and our landlord is named Richard. So Tom will pay the rent by no later than the 10th of every month, to meet Richard's need. And Richard, our landlord, will make repairs to the plumbing in the bathroom to meet Tom's need.

And they may have a particular deadline or timeline here for making those repairs in the bathroom. And we would write that into this agreement. So be very specific in terms of what each party is agreeing to do here as we interlink these. And we state them in a way that shows that the joint interests are being met.

So then we would continue down the list. This might be the top priority. We would, as we are prioritizing and interlinking things, this is where we started with the payment of the rent. And the doing of the repairs, the plumbing repairs in the bathroom. Then we would continue on with the other options and set our priorities and begin to link them.

So once again, the process of evaluation may take a little bit of time, but taking that time and making sure that the options are favorable, they're feasible, and we've set the right priorities, will help ensure that the solution that the parties agree on is a workable and sustainable one. So thank you for joining me, and I look forward to next time.

Terms to Know
Joint Interests

Interests held by all parties to a conflict.