How many times have you been in a negotiation when the first offer is patently absurd? You know the offer is unreasonable and so does the party you are negotiating with. The goal is to reach common ground, find a middle that will make both parties happy. But reaching a compromise based on an initial offer that is ridiculous is never really fair, reports Black Swan Group in a recent blog post.
The shortcomings of compromise are illuminated in the book, Never Split the Difference, Negotiate As If Your Life Depended on It. If your spouse believes that you should wear black shoes with your suit and you think you should wear brown shoes, a compromise would be for you to wear a brown shoe on one foot and a black one on the other. How does that work for you? The point is that when you compromise, you often make unfortunate tradeoffs.
“Having the spirit of compromise often means you are willing to listen and explore options. This is a good thing: If you are actually listening and considering the merits of the options, then it is part of great negotiation," the Black Swan Group writes. A great negotiation is a collaboration. When you opt to compromise, you abandon the opportunity to achieve a great outcome.
When you consider your options in a negotiation, make sure that each party's tradeoffs are of equal value, and recognize that subconsciously you will have a tendency to compromise on issues when you know that you are getting the short end of the stick on some issues and taking advantage of your counterpart on others.