Is Compromise Really The Best Idea?


What a great job Kristen did with this post.  We’re always conditioned to compromise and we fail to find out the needs of the two parties before we try resolve the problem.

Via Kristen Wheatley (Keller Williams Realty Mid Maine):

In today’s world, we seem to hear so much about the value of compromising.  Children, unions, management, governing officials, and yes, buyers and sellers, are all told that they should compromise in order to solve disputes.

Is compromise really the best way to go? 

In my experience, the most successful negotiators and mediators have the ability to ask the right questions, get to the heart of the issues and achieve consensus rather than compromise.  I know that consensus can take more effort and more time, but the end result can be far more effective and positive for all involved.  More than just a shift in terminology, this may require a completely different approach for some.

Wikipedia defines compromise as:  “a deal where someone gives up part of, or all of its demand. …finding agreement through communication, through a mutual acceptance of terms-often involving variations from an original goal or desire.  In the negative connotation, compromise may be referred to as capitulation, referring to a “surrender” of objectives, principles, or material, in the process of negotiating an agreement…an agreement that no party is happy with, because the parties involved often feel that they either gave away too much or that they received too little.”

Whereas Consensus is defined as firstly – general agreement and, secondly – group solidarity of belief or sentiment. It has its origin in a Latin word meaning literally to feel together. …achieving consensus ideally requires serious treatment of the considered opinion of each group member: those advocating the adoption, say, of a particular course of action, genuinely wish to hear those who may be against the proposal, since discussion, it is supposed, can only enhance ultimate consensus.”

In life, government, and real estate, achieving consensus should be our goal.  Why bother?  Well, here is my favorite story about the problems with our general approach to compromise.

orangeTwo people had only one orange and both wanted the whole orange.  Exhausted by their arguing, they finally agreed to just cut the orange in half to be fair to one another.

What’s the problem with this solution?

Both people were left with only half of what they needed.  During their argument, the two people never bothered to find out why each of them wanted the orange.  It turns out that one was making a recipe that called for the juice of one orange and the other was making a recipe that called for the zest of one orange. 


 If they had bothered to find out each other’s needs they could have simply used the one orange for both the zest and the juice and each person could have had ALL of what they needed.

Kristen Wheatley

Keller Williams Realty Mid Maine

34 Center Street   Auburn, ME 04210




About susanmorrison

After living in Walpole, MA for many years, our family was transferred to the west coast when I was a senior in high school. In 1983, I graduated from Mission San Jose High School in Fremont, California. I am also a 1987 graduate of Providence College with a major in liberal arts and a minor in business administration. I bring to the table many years of sales experience beginning with thirteen years in Corporate Sales at Delta Air Lines. I'm the mother of three children and I'm very active within the Franklin, MA community. I am also a cancer survivor and support the American Cancer Society Charities.

My husband and I have built five homes and I've lived in a variety of other locations including Toronto Canada, Irving Texas and my current home in Franklin, MA. As a result of all my moving around, I came to the conclusion that I was an expert at moving...why not become an expert on the other side of the table? I earned my real estate license in 2004 and believe that I have found my true niche'. I can empathize with my clients on a variety of levels; whether they are buying or selling. And, like so many other good realtors out there, I believe that possessing good communication skills is one of the many keys to success.

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