Wrong Way To Compromise

In both our personal and professional spheres, it’s a given that conflicts will surface. They’re the natural byproduct of the collision of diverse perspectives, preferences, and objectives. The conventional wisdom for navigating these conflicts leans heavily towards compromise — a method that often involves finding a midpoint or concocting a third option where both parties find themselves equally shortchanged. This strategy, though popular, is fundamentally flawed.

Consider the act of choosing what to eat for dinner. Imagine one person has a craving for Italian, while another yearns for Thai. The “logical” compromise? Settle for Western cuisine. Yet, this resolution often leaves both parties less than thrilled. The reason is straightforward: if Western cuisine had been a genuine desire, it would have been part of the initial conversation. This example underscores the inefficacy of the middle ground, which ends up pleasing no one.

The business realm is not immune to this. Budget allocations is one obvious example. The go-to strategy here is to simply divide the difference between the departments. The belief that it’s better for everyone to “lose” equally rather than seeking a resolution that might fully satisfy any party affirm this approach.

The mentality, that all should “lose equally,” is a misguided approach to compromise, as it ensures that no one truly gets what they want or need.

A more productive strategy would be for one party to gracefully step aside, allowing the other’s preference to prevail. This requires more than just agreeing on the surface. It requires a real commitment to support the chosen path, including both its successes and failures. This tactic shines in long-term relationships, be they personal or professional, where there’s ample opportunity for reciprocity over time.