How to Get Things Done

Everywhere I look, lately, I see stagnation instead of progress.  Relationships, projects, things that could really make a difference aren’t getting done.

It’s not a lack of action and certainly not a lack of words or gravitas.  It’s a lack of willingness to compromise.

In my younger days, I thought it was good to fight for everything you feel you deserve.  You know, winner take all mentality.  Don’t give up any ground.  It doesn’t matter what you get, as long as you don’t lose anything.

We see it everyday on the news (that is if you still watch it).  It’s “my way or the highway.” It happens in our everyday too; a fundamental disagreement in a relationship or an issue at work.

Here’s the problem with that line of thinking.  If everybody subscribes to it, nobody is willing to budge on a decision and nothing gets done. Rarely will you get everything you want in a negotiation.  Otherwise its an ask and there’s no need to negotiate.

Compromise is Key

The art (and it really is an art) of compromise requires a few things:

  1.  What are your must haves?  What do you have to get out of the negotiation in order to make it work?    Answer that question and whatever you get beyond that is gravy.  Make sure that the list is truly your necessities and not a laundry list of things that would be nice. Be honest with yourself.
  2. On the flip side, decide what you can let roll.  This relates to number one but bears repeating.  There may be things you would like to get out of a discussion or compromise but it may not be possible.  What can you live with?  If it’s a conversation about a relationship, what do you need to keep it going?  Are there things that you may not love but you can live with?
  3. Actively listen to the other side.  Once you start the discussion, listen to the other person actively.  What do they need in order to resolve what stands between you?  Can you help make that happen?  If so, what would it require?
  4. Consider what’s best for other people who may be involved. When it comes to creating an understanding or compromise with people, we sometimes we don’t look at what’s best for others who may be impacted by decisions we make.  We are only looking at how it impacts us.  We see it play out on the national stage or in our workplaces on a daily basis.  I get it.  You can’t make everybody happy but you can at least take it into consideration.

There are times when you need to walk away.  A relationship is toxic.  A job is sucking the joy out of your life.  But let’s face it, we live in a throw away society where, sometimes, a compromise or even a targeted discussion, could be the difference in enriching our lives or cutting off part of it.  It’s not always an easy choice.