Compromise leaves you feeling compromised.

I heard on the radio today that it was important that we embrace ‘compromise’ when working through this Covid situation and especially when transitioning out of a lockdown. The word is also quoted by the BBC as central to a negotiating strategy for Brexit. I even used it recently while breaking up a home schooling argument. As the word left my mouth I realised it was wrong. Asking my children to compromise was to ask one child to give into an unreasonable sibling demand; for one to have a less than he wanted or deserved. I had lent weight to the argument in favour of compromise and the pursuit of peace. Compromise created a winner and a loser, and also set the conditions for future conflict by allowing someone to gain more than the another. What I wanted to teach my kids and meant to say was, ‘collaborate’. In fact the more I look at my relationship with the word I see the deficit of equality it leaves in its wake. As the product of divorced parents or in my previous military career and now in business, I can point to instances where one party promoted compromise in the spirit of resolution, only to set the conditions for future conflict. However, whenever I thought of collaboration I was reminded of successful partnerships, growth and a lot of fun along the way. There isn’t a part of our business that doesn’t rely on collaboration; across multi-jurisdictional cases, investigations, asset recovery and litigation support. Collaboration relies on trust and commitment and the central idea that what you create is worth more than the sum of its parts. We are all having new collaborative experiences and having to build trust over unfamiliar platforms; it’s worth questioning if you ‘collaborate’ or just ‘compromise’.