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Compromise Sucks

Compromise sucks.
Many people will tell you, you’ve got to compromise; it’s a win-win.

However, if we’re honest, it doesn’t feel like a win.

The best you can say is, At least she didn’t win either.

Here’s what happens in a compromise, for instance when you negotiate to buy a car.
So the dealer who would have liked to sell the car for $20,00 but definitely wouldn’t go below $14,000, sells it to the customer who said he’d pay only $12.000 but knew he’d go up to $15.000 if he had to. They’re supposed to feel win-win. But do they?

Negotiation at home. Where will we go for vacation this year?
Win-win? Despite our win-win platitudes, we still feel we’ve given up something. Or perhaps we’re bothered by the lies. Compromise is disingenuous. We say – repeatedly – this is my final…, knowing full well there is a bottom line we conceal and misrepresent.

An alternative may be collaboration. Collaboration like musicians do. Eminem and Elton John. Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney. Taylor Swift and Kendrick Lamar.

In each of these unlikely collaborations, the individuals bring their best. They do not hold back a secret and lie about it, pretending they are honest. They offer what they have, and each adds another piece, uniquely their own, which builds on what they’ve already produced. Eventually, they have created a whole new musical product – something neither could have done alone.

When we think about the difference between compromise and collaboration, we can simply look at the words. When we COMPROMISE, we co-promise. Has anyone ever promised you something, then not kept that promise? Have you ever not kept a promise?

On the other hand, COLLABORATION means we co-labor, working together toward mutual goals. This is operationalized by saying, “yes…” to affirm what the other person has said, without following that with “but…” to discount them.

Collaboration begins with being willing to compromise. It’s important to keep in mind that you might not have the only right answer. Collaboration means saying “and…” to build onto what you each have brought to the discussion.

It’s even more important to keep in mind that your own ideas may be enhanced by replacing “Yes, but…” with “Yes, and…”

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