The Art Of Compromise

Hint: It’s inevitable

In comparison to a BMW EV or gas car, the BMW i8 coupe is a compromise between the two by offering both technologies in one vehicle. Does it constitute the best of both worlds? Hybrid vehicles are often seen as a transitionary technology between gas and EVs, offering drivers good performance and excellent fuel economy. However, the size and weight of the doubled-up drivetrain components and big battery often rob cargo space. However, with a gas engine backup, there’s none of an EV’s range anxiety – and hybrids offer more miles per gallon of gas.

The problem with a compromise, whether it’s a BMW hybrid, a business deal, a marketing campaign, or life in general, is that you rarely get the best deal. You are compromising because you know at least you will get something out of it and a little bit of both is still a whole lot better than nothing. In the case of our i8 example, you’ll be smug in the knowledge that your 369-horsepower sports car can return a gas mileage of 69 MPGe combined. Just try to forget that a Porsche GT3 is both faster and cheaper, even if at the expense of a greater thirst.

Compromise As A Way To Resolve Conflict

In order to resolve a conflict, one can condense one’s possible responses to these five:

  • Avoiding the conflict altogether
  • Accommodating the conflict
  • Compromising
  • Collaborating
  • Competing

Most compromises are a result of a pre-existing conflict. Of the above, avoiding and accommodating can be classified as passive responses. It’s a win-lose situation and you lose by submitting to the other party. Competing is an aggressive response that seeks to win and ignore the other party’s claims. Compromising and collaborating are considered assertive conflict-management methods and it’s here where solutions are found and compromises agreed upon. These methods result in outcomes that are fair to both parties.

How To Compromise Effectively

There are a few things to keep in mind in order to assertively and effectively compromise:

  • Listen to and understand the other party. Learn to not only listen but truly understand the other party’s point of view. Give them a chance to speak and put yourself in their shoes. If the other party feels that you ‘get it’ and you empathize with them, they would also be more willing to compromise and turn the tide in your favor. Until you know what the party on the other side of the table wants, you cannot find the middle ground. Listening and understanding will give both parties perspective and lead them to a place where new solutions can be found that neither party might have considered before.
  • Hold onto your core values. No compromise will be worth it if you let go of your ethical stance and core values. Whatever you stand to lose will pale into insignificance compared to what you lose when you cross the ethical line.
  • Understand the issue’s importance to you. How high are the stakes? How important is it for you, personally or professionally, to get a good result out of the negotiations? How much are you willing to concede? It might be worth letting more trivial issues go and focusing your energy and attention on important issues.
  • Play the long game. Always negotiate with the future in mind. You might be willing to concede on some points now if the outcome stands to benefit you in the long run. Losing a little now can set you up for a favorable outcome when the next round of negotiations comes around. Sometimes, a less than favorable outcome might be worth it now and you might have to lose a battle or two to win the war.
  • Consider alternatives. Think out of the box and don’t be one-track-minded about getting what you want. There may be more than one way to go about reaching an outcome that is favorable to you, so review all your options. Weigh up the various options’ pros and cons. An unusual solution might just bring both parties the benefits they seek.
  • Consider the consequences. What is going to happen if negotiations are unsuccessful or if your opponent wins outright? If that price is too high and not an option, you have to keep the conversation alive to avoid it without letting the other party in on your vulnerable position. Try to collect as much information as possible to determine how far you can extend yourself before it is not worth recovering the deal.
  • Know when to quit. It’s important to know when to draw the line and this is often tied in with not compromising on your core values. How far you are willing to bend before you break? Perhaps there is no moral or ethical dilemma, but the long-term benefits to be gained are simply too slight to expend the energy on. Decide when enough is enough.


If you want to compromise on a hybrid car, make sure it’s a plug-in hybrid, so you at least have some all-electrica, zero-emission range to make up for the disadvantages of having the propulsion systems of two vehicles crammed into one. Likewise, in business and life, you have to pick your battles, decide what is worth fighting for, and what compromise you are willing to accept. You might not come out winning, but you won’t be losing either if you can negotiate smartly. And you’ll be able to work with your hybrid solution.

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