The art of compromise

“He who cannot agree with his enemies is controlled by them”.

Chinese Proverb

It’s been a while since I posted, and I apologize for the pause.  2016 has started out with new challenges, and opportunities.  I have been occupied by these tasks and now finally have a moment (while aboard an airplane), to share a few ideas. 

One of the issues that I have been dealing with is in regard to changing the status quo.  In the face of new challenges, sometimes it becomes necessary to reassess progress (or lack of it), and make changes that may be difficult and distasteful both for yourself, and those around you.  This many times puts you at odds with others.   Disagreements can develop that if not solved can be even more damaging to your progress than the new challenge that prompted the change.  

 What can we do to resolve these issues?

 Contrary to popular opinion, people on separate sides of any issue CAN agree, and in finding points of agreement, both parties can win in the process.  Make no mistake, every agreement made does not end up a winning proposition for both parties….but it is POSSIBLE.

Compromise is a complicated art.   Only those brave enough to lay down their ego, and their cause, long enough to find the ideas that connect, can use this powerful tool to stop the madness and create progress in the midst of turmoil.  The things that divide us are self-evident.  It takes emotional maturity, and dogged persistence to dig for the things that we can agree on.  

Roger Dalton and Zig Ziglar are both noted experts in the world of negotiation.  Their signature line is: “You can get what you want….as long as you can give other people what they want”.   In too many cases, when faced with a contentious issue (on which we feel we are morally and intellectually deserving), we enter the engagement placing 95% of our emphasis on OUR position. Only 5% of our effort is dedicated to what the other party feels they need in order to overcome their reluctance.   Therefore, most negotiating time is spent PERSUADING and POSTURING for POWER, when it should be spent PROBING for MOTIVATIONS.

This is important to remember when negotiating with suppliers, employees, managers, spouses, or even children.  It applies across all demographic boundaries, and I have found it extremely helpful in both small and large scale negotiations of every kind.   The key to success here however is in learning how to develop EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE.  

I find it most effective to enter negotiations with the foregone conclusion that “I probably am NOT going to get everything I want”.  The needs and the motivations of others must be recognized as important to ongoing success.  Many times being able to accept that the best you can hope for is to get a piece of what you want, will provide the mental posture that will leave you emotionally flexible enough to find solutions that you would not have even investigated if you had entered with a “my way-or no way” attitude.

Compressed Signature

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