While dialing through radio stations after work. I came across a radio program (podcast) called On Being. The guest was Ellen Langer a notable Harvard Social Psychologist who describes Mindfullness as “the simple act of actively noticing things”. I didn’t catch the whole podcast, but something Ms. Langer said really struck me. She said
…here’s another one that will sound strange, but I’m against compromise… Well, the reason for that is, because it’s an agreement for everybody to lose. It’s just reducing your losses, rather than finding the win/win solution, which is often out there.”
And you know what… I’m not social psychologist, but she is ABSOLUTELY right. When you compromise it’s as if both parties are willing to lose in order to make an agreement. Think about how many times you’ve compromised in business and both you and your client were let down, or heck think about compromises in life. You short change yourself all the time with compromise, you’re left unsatisfied, and sometimes left hurt, because of compromise. Why do we put ourselves through such suffering? Probably, because it’s easier than the alternative!
What’s The Alternative?
The alternative to compromise (which MANY think is just not getting involved or getting out of the agreement) is actually creating a win-win scenario. You MUST find a better way, where both you and the other party will benefit. No one loses in a Win-Win situation. Now it may be a little tricky figuring out what a Win-Win scenario is, but know that many times a “Win” for you may not mean the same as a “Win” for the other parties involved. It’s like that saying “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” What you find value in may not exactly be the same as what your client, family member, or whoever you are interact with values.
A classic example of a Win-Win would be seen in nature would be symbiosis such as an oxpecker bird cleaning a zebra – the bird gets the parasites and bugs for food, while the zebra is free from the parasites and bugs (other examples include bees and flowers, anemones and clown fish, etc…) , The same principle applies to life in general and in business. To counteract compromise you need to find a way to create a Win-Win situation. It’s not always easy, but find the common ground where you and your client will both win, instead of compromise and both lose.
To throw in another metaphor that my old Sales Manager always said to me all the time – “a rising tide lifts all boats”. The Win-Win is the rising tide and the boats are everyone involved. Find the rising tide!
Thanks for reading!