I once heard an interesting story. Two goats came face to face while attempting to cross a narrow bridge. One of them forcefully stated, “Let me pass!” Refusing to budge, the other responded, “Never…you get out of my way!” As tempers flared, the two goats began a mighty quarrel, eventually losing their balance and plunging to their deaths in the ravine below. A few days later, two other goats found themselves in the same dilemma. Wise and patient, each goat made room for the other, allowing each to cross and return home safely.
Of course the message is clear; it’s better to compromise and live, than to be unbending and meet your demise. And if you’ve been following the recent developments in our nation’s capital, you know that the consequences of non-compromise can be far more reaching than just two individuals. Here are three reasons why compromise is a must, regardless of whether you’re negotiating for a nation or simply a leader within your organization.
Compromise creates Win-Win situations
C.S. Lewis once said, “True humility in not thinking less of yourself, but is thinking of yourself less.” Some erroneously feel that negotiating with the opposition is compromising to their personal worth and leads them to think, “well that’s just who I am, deal with it.” But attempting to beat the opposition out of others is self-destructive and leads to chaos within all parties involved. Victory may be yours, but the moment is fleeting and you’ll risk destroying fruitful relationships you’ll need for future success. The best negotiators create win-win situations, bending where necessary to draw out the best in others, in order to walk away from the table with a victory for all. If you prove yourself to be this type of negotiator, your value to the organization dramatically increases.
Compromise instills and maintains respect
Your reputation at the negotiating table can leave lasting impressions, which can in turn have lasting effects on your reputation in your industry and your ability to negotiate future deals. Being willing to compromise indicates your respect for the position of others, which increases their willingness to work with you in tearing down roadblocks that hinder progress. Once you lose the respect of peers, subordinates, vendors, clients, or any other interested party, that narrow bridge narrows even more and demise is imminent. Trust deteriorates, communication ceases, and animosity abounds. By consequence, your team will become incapable of responding to the needs of those who use your products and services and you certainly don’t want to lose your organization’s balance and plunge into the ravine.
Compromise builds confidence
Business author Robert Kiyosaki once said, “The better you are at communicating, negotiating, and handling your fear of rejection, the easier life is.” Contrary to today’s popular belief, attaining everything you want is not what builds confidence. Confidence is found within rejection and failure as it forces you to become a better communicator and negotiator. As that experience builds, you can sit at any table, content in the knowledge that you have what it takes to land a stellar deal. Confidence at the negotiating table has been proven to result in better deals as your focus is on creating value for all, not on worrying about being outmaneuvered by the other party. After all, the goal of any negotiation is to get the best deal for all involved, including those whom your decisions will affect, who may not have the privilege of being present at the table.
Negotiation skills take time, practice, and patience to acquire, but they’re indispensable for success in business and in life. As Dr. Chester Karass said, “You don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate.” Ensure you’re wise and patient to avoid the treacherous ravine.