Know When and How to Compromise

Quality as a profession is often put into the position of being the cop or gatekeeper. There are a set of regulations and standards that must be met, and it can be easy, especially early in one’s career and without proper mentoring, to start to see absolutes.

It is important to always have a vision of what good and great look like. But the road to that will be filled with compromise, so get good at it.

Compromise is not a weakness in a quality professional, it is a strength.

There are times when, instead of ramping up your argment fill fore to make a case, it is better to step back and think about where you can comprise and still convince the organization to implement most, if not all, of your ideas.

This is where the change accelerators come in. Articulate the vision, and then utilize compromise the build and evolve the guiding coalition and turn that into an army of the willing.

Pilot programs, soft launches, workshops. These tools will help you find your allies and facilitate a solution.

Part of comprise is knowing what you can and will settle for. These questions can help:

  • What is the first thing I am willing to cede? It may be the timeline or a small adoption of your solution, such as a pilot project.
  • What is my backup plan? If the stakeholders don’t adopt my plan but offer a counterproposal, what am I willing to accept and jump on board with?
  • What is fueling the stakeholders’ reluctance? Ask questions, engage in “yes…but…and” practice.
  • Can I rework my argument? Is there an opportunity to come back with a revised pitch? Can you simplify or emphasize specific parts of your argument? Can you break it down into smaller parts – such as building blocks – first gaining support for the concept, ten gaining support for the first step to test its success, and then building support for the next step or phase?

Compromise is negotiation, and it requires all your emotional intelligence skills – patience, active listening, respect for the stakeholders’ position.

Have a vision, a plan, can really help. You will never get to 100% of meeting a requirement but being able to articulate what great looks like and then showing a plan that builds at a good clip, that allows compromise, will allow you to make continued progress and adjust as you go. Your systems will be stronger as a result.

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