I’ve never been a fan of compromise. It’s not that I don’t want to meet someone half-way, it’s that compromise often leads to neither party being satisfied. Let’s take the classic situation of, what should we eat for dinner tonight, as an example. If I want Asian and you want Italian, we have 3 options:
- We get Asian…in which case you aren’t getting what you want
- We get Italian…in which case I’m not getting what I want
- We get something else…in which case, neither of us gets what we want
There is a 4th option. DON’T COMPROMISE. In which case, I’ll order Chinese form Sang Kee (my favorite place in Philly) and you can order from the place you want, we bring it back home, and we’re BOTH happy. Think about this for a second. It’s a rather simple solution, isn’t it? Yet, how many of you compromise? Looks like, by the show of hands, it was nearly all of you.
I’ve recently fallen in love with a new commercial for the Dodge Dart. It’s not that I want to buy a Dodge Dart. It’s not that I love Dodge or the Dart. That said, I do love the message Dodge is conveying to the viewership…
To build something amazing…to change cars forever, you can’t compromise. Why can’t you compromise? Well, as Dodge so eloquently put it…visually…compromise leads to really bad cars. The problem of course is that we compromise all the time at work. Most organizations get buy (notice, I didn’t say, “thrive”) by consensus management. What’s that you ask? Well, it’s the process of making sure everyone has a chance to be heard…to have their opinion valued…and ultimately to make sure everyone agrees. That’s a recipe for disaster. It was the lack of consensus management that made Apple’s iPhone and iPad such game changing products.
When you manage through committees, you end up with compromise. When you end up with compromise, your customers certainly won’t be happy and your marketing won’t be effective. Oh…and all those good feelings everyone had because their voice was heard…yeah, those good feelings have a habit of going away pretty fast when you have unhappy customers and ineffective products or marketing.
So take a page from what Dodge is trying to do with the Dart. Stand for something. Don’t compromise. Kick out the committees and bring the RIGHT thing to market, not the thing based on everyone’s arm-chair feedback. The pain you’ll feel initially will be worth it, long-term, when the results exceed your expectations.