If you have been reading my blog over the past month, you are aware that I have worked with young children. Now, if you've ever had any dealing with young children, you understand that compromise is generally not in their vocabulary. They don't want to understand it, they don't intend to understand it, don't even try bringing it up. But we adults, in a valiant effort, attempt-day after day-to instill in these noble little people the idea that there might be a way for everyone to get what they want and, therefore, be happy. Most of the kiddos I know don't buy it and rightfully so.
I mean, really, the definition of compromise is: "a settlement of differences reached by mutual concessions." That means that both (or all) parties have to give up something to get something. Who is ever happy when they have to give up something? I don't know too many people that are. Most of the adults I know understand that it's a necessity, but they're not as happy as if they got exactly what they wanted. It's the human part of us...the competitive part...the selfish part. We want our way. We want the other guy to give in. Life would be good, if only it worked that way.
As you may know, I'm in the process of creating a new business with my cousin and a friend. This was my idea. I chose to do this. And I am getting a crash course on, not only the power of compromise, but, I believe, we are practicing every day, many times a day, Stephen Covey's Pathfinding (vision), Aligning (discipline), and Empowering (passion). In the 8th Habit, Dr. Covey lists the seven habits from his previous book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (1. Be proactive; 2. Begin with the End in Mind; 3. Put First Things First; 4. Think Win-Win; 5. Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood; 6. Synergize; 7. Sharpen the Saw). Well, Dr. Covey, we're doing our best here.
This is not easy! I believe anyone who has attempted a project like this, with people from very different parts of the country, who don't really know each other very well, will agree that maybe we bit off more than we could chew. And yet, so far, we've been able to come to agreement on everything. When you continue to think Win-Win, where neither party has to "give up" anything, where you find that third alternative that really is better than either of you (or any of you) had in mind when you started, then everybody does end up happy. It is possible....not easy, but possible!
So, I was thinking about this. Imagine what would happen in the world if all the leaders were required to practice this idea. For those of you that haven't read it, the 8th Habit is the sweet spot. The sweet spot is where The 7 Habits, The 4 Roles of Leadership, and Organizational Greatness come together. It's where everything and everybody work together for the best interests of the organization. There is no competition, there are no hurt feelings, there are no sour faces. Everyone is working as a team to make this good thing happen.
Now, I'm no Pollyanna. I understand that there will always be conflict in the world. There will always be war. There will always be those people who just don't want to get along. BUT...what would happen if we could get even a few of our world's leaders to practice Dr. Covey's ideas?