In today’s use of slang and interchangeability of common words we often lose the meaning and point in everyday conversations. How often to do hear a version of, “You need to compromise”, when trying to get your point across, or trying to get someone to give in and change their point of view? Similarly, how often do you hear someone saying they are collaborating with their team mates, only to find out later that one person is driving a project to fit the their image of an end product? In general, we have lost the understanding of the words compromise and collaboration and the impacts they have on positive team development.
When two or more people meet and have valid, and often opposing, ideas on a particular subject they will say the other person needs to “compromise”, meaning I am right and you need to give into my point of view. In the world of compromise, someone wins and someone loses: win-lose dynamics. One person must give up something they value and invariably walks away hurt. From the individual perspective, the person will rarely forget that they caved on an idea they believed in. From the group perspective, compromise builds a pecking order. Who lost the most? Who won the most? The person who wins overall must still incorporate a few ideas from the other group members into the final creation of an end product; even their overall vision is compromised. From an end product perspective, it usually turns out badly. In most cases, no one is happy with the overall product and resentment is created. Eventually, the person who lost today will have their revenge leaving a tit-for-tat wake where victories and losses are more important than team success. The team dynamic is fractured and trust destroyed. Effective teams know there is a better way: collaboration.
There is an art to collaboration. From the outset, it is accepted that everyone in the group has value. Their ideas and views are valid from the individual perspective. So what do you do? You use the energy as a catalyst for something better than you could as compromisers. First, create a shared vision of what the team is trying to accomplish, what the end product looks like. The team now has a focal point for with to engage. From the overall vision, you can start to build the framework through shared ideas. As the group moves forward, an overall mental consensus develops through the collaboration. With a shared vision one person cannot dominate the group. You derail power grabber’s right from the start. People continue to develop ideas which get vetted through the collaborative process and ideas that once would demand “compromise” are dropped because they do not match the shared mental model. In the end, using collaboration in groups leads to win-win group dynamics.
It is worth the time and effort to access how your team functions. Demanding someone compromise and bend to another person’s point of view is a recipe for failure. Someone wins, and someone loses. Hard feelings are harbored and revenge will eventually come. The art of collaboration is the bond that builds successful teams, through shared mental images of success. For a team to be effective, efficient and successful in this fast paced business environment it is imperative that an atmosphere of “collaboration”, over “compromise” permeates your organizations culture.