Are YOU Willing to Compromise for Progress?

Nov 1, 2020 | Industry

By Sandy Blalock • ARA Executive Director

“Never lose sight of the need to reach out and talk to other people who don’t share your view. Listen to them and see if you can find a way to compromise.”

Colin Powell

“I shall argue that strong men, conversely, know when to compromise and that all principles can be compromised to serve a greater principle.”

Andrew Carnegie

As the world becomes more polarizing, our response cannot be contempt for those who disagree with us. We cannot blindly refuse to compromise. We certainly need to recognize that we don’t have all the answers. Everyone has a different set of values and experiences that frame their perspectives.

Cirba Solutions

If you forget all else, remember this: don’t change your ethical stance for a compromise.

You may have a difficult customer or deal that causes some angst or frustration you might regret in the moment, but never ignore your ethics because you might feel the frustration for a very long time.

I see recyclers all the time trying to make a decision on deals that make them uneasy; my advice to them is to listen to your inner voice before proceeding on any compromise. When you feel stuck or really cannot articulate on why something does not feel right, then reach out to others such as friends or other industry members because they often verify your “gut feeling.” Again, don’t bend your fundamental values to reach a compromise.

The one thing we must always consider is to take the time to understand the other side.

Both sides need to understand the motivation of the other person. Sometimes the sheer act of listening can turn a compromise into a “win-win,” where no one has to give up anything. Even if you can’t reach that “win-win” situation, understanding and sympathizing with the other person can help turn dialogue to your favor.

Remember that people want to be heard and understood. Really listen to others by giving them a chance to speak. Visualize yourself in their position. Don’t forget to repeat back their opinions so they know you understand their views. Also, say “we” instead of “you vs. me” language to foster a spirit of togetherness. People are much more willing to cooperate with someone they feel “gets it.”

One of the most important things to consider is the long-term benefits of your decision.

Not all compromises give each party identical outcomes. In my experience, the opposite is true: compromise generally means one party comes out more ahead than another. So, you might ask yourself why should you make a compromise where you lose a lot and gain very little?

Sometimes you do it in exchange for a long-term benefit. It’s a risk, but you might decide the long-term benefits are worth it to you. Especially in today’s business climate with online reviews and social media. So, how do you know when it’s okay to just give in (or give up)?

Here’s a scenario to consider. You’re in a position where there’s not an ethical dilemma, but you are being asked to compromise with no short- or long-term benefits for you. That’s when you have to know when it’s okay to either just give in or give up. If you make the choice to give in without any expectation of tangible rewards, then you have to decide you’re okay with a “feel good” reward of simply making the right choice. Or sometimes in a compromise, you are working to develop a long-term mutual business arrangement. So adopt a positive attitude and know another compromise will likely work in your favor.

On the flip side, if the “feel good” or long view simply does not do it for you, then you may just have to step down from the negotiations altogether, which could likely have consequences, but not necessarily in the long run.

We’ve probably all experienced both the professional and personal effects of “giving up.” So ask yourself one last time – is it worth losing a relationship whether personal, professional or business? There may be an emotional or business toll during that time, but the outcome can make you a better businessperson because you made a decision that caused some short-term pain for the right reasons. Finally, as this year closes, whatever brings you the most happiness and means the most to you, may you be blessed with a happy, healthy, safe and fun holiday season and a much more prosperous New Year.

Reach Sandy Blalock at sandy@a-r-a.org. Share your thoughts pertaining to the advancement of professional auto-motive recycling. Your letter could be published in an upcoming issue.

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