Throughout society over time, there is an obvious and unhealthy desire of antagonists to win. To win now. To win decisively. To win without regard for future consequences. This mentality isn’t helping families, companies, society or the economy to function as needed.
What I would like to see most of all at this time is greater spirit, willingness and foresight to compromise. I’m not distinguishing particularly between personal, local, national or global issues — more compromise is needed at all of these levels.
Yes, this is a competitive world. Life determines winners and losers every day. This reality is inevitable and no amount of compromise is going to change it. There are purists on two or more sides of most issues. Many see compromise as a synonym for muddle. Fight for what you believe is right. Don’t sacrifice for a worthy cause. And so forth.
Compromise is hard and sometimes it may be wrong. To the extent the recently announced interim deal with Iran reflects a compromise, there are many people and some countries that think it is a really, really bad outcome. There is no shortage of disagreement either about the U.S. decision — an apparent compromise with Russia among others — to refrain from attacking Syria after the use of chemical weapons was established, thus breaching the “bright red line.”
Yet with that said, the world is suffering for our inability to achieve compromise. Possibly the most visible example of the failure to compromise is the U.S. government’s inability to agree on a budget and a workable means of growing its borrowing capacity while it addresses questions of long-term financial viability. This is serious stuff. It affects the standing of the U.S. in the world and therefore the world order. It affects prospects for economic growth. It affects consumer confidence. It affects people’s plans and commitments to take vacations, including Royal Caribbean cruises. That’s enough for me to think that compromise is a big idea.
I’ve mentioned several large-scale national and global issues. But failure to compromise and the consequences thereof is hardly the exclusive terrain of our elected and appointed leaders. It’s plainly evident between individuals, between departments of companies, within industry associations, between plaintiffs and defendants, etc. There needs to be more impetus for identification of common interests and growing the pie for everyone.
The win-at-all cost mentality is apparent at every level of society and in all branches of our government. I don’t think this is a benefit to most of us. Therefore my big idea for 2014 would be for people in general (and governmental leaders in particular) to put more effort into forging useful and durable compromises that improve the economy and our collective security.
This blog entry was originally published on LinkedIn.