Compromise is one of those things that makes the world work. I can’t say I’ve always been good at it. It takes practice and more practice, listening deeply to what the other side says and doesn’t say, and looking inward to separate pride from what matters. That led, for me, to my philosophy of “I’ll meet you half way”. It’s a good saying and a decent philosophy.
It does have a weakness though. What I define as half way may not come close to what you see as half way. There were plenty of times that I thought “I’ve gone half way and that’s as far as I go”. Eventually I realized that I was tied to the philosophy of half way and not focused on what mattered – reaching an agreement, the proverbial win-win. Reading a couple books on negotiating helped. Compromise is almost always a part of negotiating.
I’ve learned to look and think deeper about half way. Listening will only take you so far, sometimes you have to make some educated guesses about what the other side wants or doesn’t want and why.
Compromise doesn’t always mean half way or otherwise fair and equitable. Sometimes you make a less than stellar deal to get the one piece you need to win. I find that my ability to focus on the win and being willing to make some sacrifices to get there wins a lot of battles for me, and I think it changes my worth as an employee/consultant. It doesn’t mean compromising regardless of cost (or ethics), it just means stay focused on the goal and understand the consequences of not getting something done.
Compromise isn’t weakness. Going more than half way is arguably a sign of weakness – you need something perhaps more than they do, or want to win more than they do. That’s life. You can take the win with less than everything, or walk away. Knowing which to do requires wisdom and experience, both of which are painful to acquire (but worth it).
I haven’t replaced the “meet you halfway” saying yet,and not sure I will. Part of that is posturing,I don’t want to signal that I’m eager to get less than half. Part is that its understandable and down to earth sounding. Mostly its good enough!