Alan Weiss’s Monday Morning Memo® – 11/01/2021
I remember being in a client meeting where a vice president raised an idea that had merit. But one of his peers, who was known to be highly aggressive and even radical, walked over to the trash can and pretended to vomit into it as his reaction to the idea.
There was an uncomfortable silence, the CEO indicated that the discussion about the idea should continue and it was agreed to pursue its viability. The hurling vice president was not invited to those subsequent meetings. I also found that his opinions were seldom seriously considered, and he soon left the company, despite his success in sales.
Although it’s become an antediluvian term, “compromise” is still the woof and warp of achieving goals. Truly radical members of deliberative bodies, from utility commissions to Congress, seldom are successful in getting legislation passed. (AOC in 2019 had none of her solely-sponsored bills passed, and was ranked near the bottom of the New York delegation in these statistics.) Aside from the few colleagues who share radical views, people tend to shun the extremes and search for middle ground in order to gather critical mass.
The art of compromise seems to have been lost. Joe Biden was elected, reasonably, to bring the country together. It seems to me he’s having trouble merely bringing his own party together.
I don’t advocate sacrificing what is of immense importance and principle, but I certainly advocate examining how best to bring others to your point of view. Even partial victory is better than total defeat. And it’s certainly better than the perpetual stalemate we find ourselves in these days.
Of course, when faced with a stalemate in chess, you can always start a new game.
But just as they did in Philadelphia when they were writing the constitution, sooner or later, you’ve got to compromise. You’ve got to start making the compromises that arrive at a consensus and move the country forward. —Colin Powell
The European family may well be anything but perfect. But it is the best thing that we have for bringing the countries of Europe around the same table and for forging compromises so that people here can live in peace, freedom, and prosperity. — Jean-Claude Juncker