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Tools To Help You Generate Options

Updated: May 19, 2020

What is the range of options?

Use the tools below to generate ideas and options, once you've mapped out the conflict. 1. Clarifying tools

  • Chunking – breaking the problem into smaller parts.

  • Researching – more information; extent of resources: constraints.

  • Goal-setting – what is the outcome we want?

2. Generating tools

  • Obvious solution/s – to which all parties say “yes”.

  • Brainstorming- no censoring, no justifying, no debating

  • Consensus – build agreements together

  • Lateral thinking – have we been practical, creative?

3. Negotiating tools

  • Maintain current arrangements – with trade-offs or sweeteners.

  • Currencies – what is it easy for me to give and valuable for you to receive?

  • Trial and error – try one option, then another

  • Establishing alternatives – what will happen if we can’t agree?

  • Consequence confrontation – what I will do if we don’t agree.

Selecting the Options


  • Is it built on a win/win approach?

  • Does it meet many needs of all parties?

  • Is it feasible?

  • Is it fair?

  • Does it solve the problem?

  • Can we settle on one option or do we need to trial several?

  • Have we considered timing or resourcing?



We didn’t make this stuff up. The skills in this article are based on over 30 years of experience, and the curated tools made available through the Conflict Resolution Network (CRN). CRN is a resource center that offers high-quality free and low-cost training materials for educational programs that move people and systems away from adversarial approaches towards cooperation and sustainable solutions. For more information and access to their absolutely incredible (and extraordinarily accessible) resources, we recommend you visit

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