Three Lane Highway


    • Description – The 3 Lane Highway model is used for improving communication in the workplace, and elsewhere.


    • Background – Was crated to solve the problem of not knowing how to begin discussing difficult topics.


  • Techniques – A good situation to use it in is when there is an “elephant in the room”  that no one is willing to acknowledge.  A good way to make use of this tool is to work the lanes like this.  Lane 1: acknowledge that there is an issue that you and another disagree on that has potential for confrontation.  Do this verbally with the other party.  Ask permission to discuss this topic sometime for a few minutes.  If you get a “yes”, great!  If not, you might ask why?  It could be an eye opener to find out why.  Lane 2: set parameters for the discussion.  Things like a time limit.  Can you both keep your cool for three minutes total?  Another parameter is choosing whether you are going to try to find solutions.  Hint: take the pressure off and don’t do this the first time you talk.  Maybe don’t even try to find solutions until you have talked more than three times successfully.  A third parameter might be if you want a third party in the room.  In addition you need to consider exactly where and when to talk.  Hint: find some neutral ground.  Lane 3: have you dialogue and keep to the parameters!  Remember your goal is not to solve everything in one go, it’s to be able to have a short discussion around a difficult topic without switching back. If you do that once, fantastic!  You have just put in the first building block of success toward finding a resolution, and all that without the cost of a mediator.



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