Home Features Management Matters Thinking big: When compromise is the smart option

Thinking big: When compromise is the smart option

Bruce Kasanoff* says in today’s world most big pictures are too big for individuals to grasp. It is then that blended solutions are needed to take into account a range of diverse ideas and beliefs.


Smart people and organisations compromise — it really is that simple.

The more you feel it has to be your way, or else… the greater the chances that your way will end in tragedy.

Our world — and probably your organisation too — has become far too complex for one idea or one set of principles to work every time.

We need blended solutions that take into account a range of diverse ideas and beliefs.

This is true in politics, business, the arts, science and education.

Let’s not get hung up on semantics.

Some will say that compromise means no one got what they wanted, and suggest that ‘collaboration’ is a better word.

This is because it implies working towards an outcome that expands the menu, instead of just dividing up the pieces of a small pie.

Use whatever words that work best for you. I’d simply like to suggest that you highlight two thoughts in your career.

First, be open-minded to the ideas of others, because none of us are always right.

Second, look for win-win outcomes, not because you are selfless, but because you are selfish.

Win-win outcomes are sustainable, and it is in your interest to be part of sustainable solutions.

Let’s face facts: None of us fully understands the big picture.

I can’t name one person – myself included – who understands in detail how to design, code, package, market, sell, and service a complex product.

Each of us understands bits and pieces, but it’s easy to delude ourselves that we know enough to be 100 per cent sure our perspective is right.

Likewise, none of our politicians (or economists) understands how the interplay between taxes, regulations, laws, and the economy really works.

I cannot comprehend how any among us can think with absolute certainty that their ideas are best.

The one thing school taught me was that human history is filled with societies in which the leaders were convinced they knew everything about, say, healthcare… and that bloodletting was the way to go.

Or shock treatment. Or burning witches at the stake.

We are doing our best. We are only human, and we make mistakes.

We see the world through our own biases and preconceptions; that is not going to change.

Let’s all be a bit more humble, open-minded, and generous.


*Bruce Kasanoff is a ghostwriter for entrepreneurs. He is the author of How to Grow Your Career by Helping Others.

This article first appeared at Kasanoff.com.