Should Compromise Be In Your Professional Vocabulary?

For many HR pros, negotiation is part of the work. We negotiate with union representatives about working conditions, with potential new employees about salary, with suppliers about the costs of their services, with corporate over changes we might want to make at the local level, and even with employees we are trying to separate from the organization. Negotiation is happening everywhere.

When I am working out differences, and someone talks about a compromise, I admit a wince a little bit. I lose my poker face.

I don’t like the word. Any more than I like the concept of win-win. For the record, I don’t like lose-lose or win-lose either. I’m afraid I prefer, as Charlie Sheen might say – Winning. We all work for the organization. Even our suppliers work for us. We are partners. We collectively succeed. We collectively build and maintain a strong organization.

Compromise or Solution? On the beach this spring in Mexico City Beach, FL

My problem with the word is that it assumes there is some equality of value of differing points or view, and each chooses to give up some value to get to common ground. We can’t seem to let the difference stand, or it is getting in the way somehow, so the two parties determine a path out of the discomfort of having the difference. And that path may mean a loss of value to the company, a chink in what might have been an advantaged position.

If the word compromise is used a lot where you work, then you are probably compromised. What word should you use to replace it? How about Solution? What matters here is principle, and making sure that you are looking at both short-term and long-term consequences.

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