February 21, 2018

Lately, I’ve been thinking long and hard about the concept of compromise. To many (and I used to be one of them), this term connotes weakness or a lack of principles and/or discipline.  Therefore, compromise is typically something to avoid for the most part especially if you didn’t want to experience that little pang of guilt for giving in.

For the past two months, I decided to take mental notes of how often, when, and why I compromised and really reflect on the value of the compromise. I spend the majority of my day at work, with other people and dynamic situations and relationships. Naturally, what I found was that most of my compromises occurred at work.

Either because of my deliberate actions to recognize compromises or because I am actually compromising more lately — the chicken or the egg problem — I noticed there are many days of late in which the work day barely comes to an end without a compromise.

It is such a common occurrence because it seems like I am always trying to find common ground between teams, or merging different approaches to the same problem, or bridging personalities with people who don’t [or barely] get along, or all of the above simultaneously! I also find that many days the act of compromising is exhausting — physically, mentally, and emotionally.

However, it’s not just the lows, it is exhausting in part of the highs as well. I realize that I actually get a rush of adrenalin when I see people reach those agreements needed in a course of action, or when I see a team where teammates were so hostile to each other that I had to step in and calm down the situation… And yet, at the end of the 2-day workshop, the team still produced and creatively pitched a solution to a problem. Had this team failed to compromise — to set aside their differences — they would have failed.

Thus, in this case as in many cases I’ve learned lately, a failure to compromise is a failure to succeed. Compromise is needed to unify a team, to build relationships, to move an organization forward, and ultimately, make progress. I care about where I work. I care about my teammates and how we get along. I care about what happens to them and how they are treated as well as how they treat others. And because I care, I find value in compromising when dealing with others. Its rewards and benefits are definitely worth it compared to the alternative.


  1. When was the last time you found yourself compromising?
  2. How did you feel about yourself for compromising?
  3. What was the value – rewards or benefits – for compromising?



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