Art of Compromise

To compromise is not to give up, or give in. It relates to seeking balance

Colleagues discussingWebster’s Dictionary defines compromise as a settlement of differences by consent, reached by mutual concessions.

Put in simple terms, you’ve got to give a little to get a little, with the understanding that just because you don’t get what you want, it doesn’t mean you won’t get all you need.

For a business to be successful, leaders and team members need to learn how to engage in this beneficial behaviour. And, it’s not as hard as you might think.

The first thing to remember is that in a business deal you won’t be comfortable unless the other company [or, person] is comfortable as well.

For some reason, compromising is looked at as a loss, caving in, or even being a doormat. The real truth is that if you have any of these sensations you are not really compromising. For there to be a real meeting of the minds, both parties have to feel good about the end result.

Getting everything you want every time you want it is not realistic. These are the desires of a spoiled child, not an adult who wants to be in a successful business environment.

Ask yourself something: if you get everything you want, and your client is feeling like they got the fuzzy end of the lollipop – and, not at all happy about it – can you really see this deal being successful? Do you think this client will be back for more?

To become willing to compromise you have to understand that it benefits everyone involved. If you are truly business partners what is good for one may not be good for the other. Try looking at the big picture and do what you can to make it balanced. The closer you come to equality, the more successful both of you will be. If either of you feel that the deal is not balanced, something isn’t working properly.

Once you’ve agreed to a set of ground rules for your business relationship, if one of you decides to make drastic changes, for example, or, you or your client want to change the financial terms, it can make future negotiations difficult. One more thing: remember, that, before you do anything that changes the foundation of your agreements, you need to talk with your client or team-mate and closely examine how this decision will change things.

Most compromise issues are far less drastic than this, but the process for achieving a balanced situation is the same.

Talk, examine, and take some time to see how changes will affect everyone involved. Getting the best terms possible is an appropriate business decision.

However, if this is a new direction, you need your client to be willing to compromise and make the changes necessary so that both of you can feel comfortable and safe.

Compromise is an art form that successful leaders have mastered. The key is: understanding that you’re not giving up or giving in, and you’re just seeking balance.

Barton Goldsmith
Dr Barton Goldsmith, PhD, an award-winning and highly sought-after keynote speaker, business consultant and internationally syndicated author, has helped develop creative and balanced leadership in several Fortune 500 companies, educational institutions, and government organisations worldwide. He lives in California, USA.


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