When Compromise is Not Compromise

The expression when compromise is not compromise may sound like double-talk, but believe me when I say it’s not.

A Working Definition

For our purposes we’ll define a compromise as an agreement that results when two or more people or groups make concessions, willingly giving up certain things they desire. That may sound simple in concept but the road to this point is filled with pitfalls

A Good Example

Let’s say your company is debating whether to add a new product line and the opinions are rather strong on both sides. One group claims the product line is really needed yet the other side claims it will divert valuable resources. Perhaps this divide is settled by the group opposed to the new product line making a concession to at least try a few of the products, while the other side agrees to give up their immediate demand to add the entire product line. Neither side gets everything they want, but the final agreement is something they can accept. All in all everyone involved is contented for the time being.

An Bad Example

Without getting into specifics I can refer you to the government as an example of violating the true definition of compromise. Let’s take the example of passing a temporary budget. Imagine there is something that one group wants to fund that others believe to be immoral. If those that believe it to be immoral cave in and allow the funding to go through they are not really compromising. Rather, they are surrendering their core principles. The same can be true in a business environment. Some people may want to implement policies that you consider dishonest. That means you may be faced with a situation where you have to make a decision as to whether you maintain your integrity or surrender it under the guise of compromise. That is when compromise is not compromise and to claim it to be really just amounts to nothing more than surrendering your core principles.

The Choice is Up to You

Think about it. Are those things you list to be absolute values and principles by which you claim to live really that, or do you give up when the going gets tough? This is one of those times when surrender is not an option. It really is a time when compromise is not compromise.

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As always, your comments are welcomed.


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