The danger of compromise
Feb 29, 2012
Picture a stand-off between multiple parties.
Perhaps it is between representatives of two nations sitting across a long polished table as they butt heads over a piece of land, or perhaps it is between red-faced members of an organization fighting over a budget item, voices raised, or maybe its kids on a grassy field arguing about which game to play.
In our case, this morning, it was between our 9 yr old son (on sofa, arms crossed, body tight, face scowling) and his dad (on living room rug, visibly slowing down his breathing to be "patient," feet planted firmly).
....As with many stand-offs, large and small, the clock in our home this morning was ticking, and our son seemed deeply entrenched in his position -- giving things a simultaneous sense of semi-urgency and semi-hopelessness.
Thus, my husband, with the intention of showing kindness and sowing harmony, offered a compromise.
....In a world where minutes seem to be a precious resource and conflict happens so frequently, it may seem counter-intuitive to take the time needed to engage in a restorative process in which dialogue is used to hear the needs of each party and the focus is on creative solutions that "expand the pie" (as Deepak Malhotra says in his brilliant Negotiating Genius text) rather than nibbling away at it.
....Yet, the danger of compromise is that it leaves all parties feeling like their plates are half-empty rather than half full.
The trick, I believe, is to have faith (belief not always based on proof) that a little extra time in the front end (using a restorative process) will wind up saving a ton of time (and pain and disconnection) on the back end -- and create solutions that are more sustainable.
But don't take my word for it. Try it yourself. I don't want you to feel like you are compromising!