To compromise is to be flexible. In the business world it could mean to collaborate with others for the purpose of gaining insights. It could involve a sense of ‘give and take,’ in which not all of your ideas are used but you take some of yours and some of the ideas of others to produce some sort of synergy.
You bend a little on your ideas while bringing into the project or plan the ideas of others you are not entirely behind. To compromise in a negotiation is to have a goal of “win-win” for both parties.
To compromise is good. It is seen as being a team player as opposed to a stubborn dictator.
However, there may be times when in an attempt to compromise and be a team player you’ve actually fallen into the trap of being compromising.
For example, the Vision and Mission and Values of the organization are declarations and commitments of who you are. Yet if you have leaders within the organization who say, “I don’t buy that” you might think, “well, they can have their own opinion,” (which, of course, they can) and let it go.
The problem with this is that their very existence within the organization may be compromising your V/M/V and unwittingly be creating a different kind of V/M/V, a distorted version, perhaps even an anti-version.
Let’s say one of your values is: Always use appropriate language and one of your managers swears like a drunken sailor. He says, “that’s just the way I am—I grew up that way.”
Or, maybe it is: to treat your employees like family, and you find one of your managers is constantly badgering and verbally abusing your employees.
Is it ok to let this go and compromise your stated values?
When you let these things go, it is compromising not only your values but who you are.
Now, let’s make it even more difficult: what if that manager had one of the highest producing units (departments, divisions, franchises, and so on) in your organization?
Does he/she get a free pass? Do they get off “Scott-Free?”
Ultimately, when you are compromising who you are as an organization, even for the sake of the numbers, you have compromised your identity. And when you compromise who you are you are, when you’ve compromised your identity, then, in reality, you’re lost.