Monday, August 18, 2014

Compromise or collaborate

I often hear people complain about compromises they have made. They find themselves in situations where think they have to compromise with someone in order to get something done. In some cases, it is true that compromising may be the only solution. Often however collaborating may lead to a better solution. Most people easily interchange the two words, but don’t be fooled. Compromise and collaborate are not synonyms.  

In a compromise, people give something up. There is a loss. In a compromise, each person negotiating starts from what they see as the optimal position and begins to give in until they meet somewhere in the middle. Neither party gets what they truly want.

Alternatively, in a collaboration each negotiator works together to arrive at a solution. In true collaborations, the pie (so to speak) can get bigger. Each party can get what they originally intended and maybe more. There is opportunity to look at the problem from various angles and think about solutions in a new way. Understanding each other’s goals will help you discover an optimal resolution.

When have you had the opportunity to ‘expand the pie’ through collaboration? How often do you compromise when collaboration may be an opportunity? Who collaborates really well? What can you do to lead through collaboration rather than compromise?

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