Posts Tagged ‘compromise’

For better or for worse?

Posted: March 13, 2011 in Uncategorized


Two opposing sides give in a little to reach a decision with which they both can live.  It’s how we make progress.


To accept standards that are lower than desirable.


A community worked for years to build a new park.  Though the interests and desires of the community were many and varied, through the spirit of compromise they were able to develop a program that would eventually improve the quality of life for everyone.  The dream was about to become reality.

A friend once told me that car salespeople sell a fantasy.  The car glistens in the showroom.  The buyer envisions the car winding through the mountains, wind in his hair. He doesn’t think about the oil changes, the worn tires, the inevitable dings and dents.  He buys the car because he wants the fantasy.

Projects are the same way.  From the first sketch on the back of a napkin to the grant award, it’s all easy fantasy.  Shortly after that comes the first ding.  Usually, despite the generous grant, there’s not enough money to fund the complete dream.  There’s a compromise on what the first phase of the project will include.

When the project was on the back of a napkin, people weren’t paying much attention to the details.  But when the design development drawings show that the water feature has a basin in which people could splash around in the water, the city leaders get nervous about soap bubbles, kids playing with boats, and the inevitable lawsuits.  Another compromise puts the basin below grade so there are no accessible water pools.

As the project gets closer to construction, the issue of security comes to the forefront.  Despite an understanding of the principle of inclusion, images of drug dealers come to mind and the broad, easy access to the park is reduced to a six-foot lockable gate.  It’s hard to argue against erring on the side of safety.

There will be more issues and more compromises.  Some are patently necessary; others are judgments thought to be prudent.

Compromise is part of the process.  Compromise is part of life.  Sometimes compromise is the easy way out.

When we accept standards lower than desirable, you have to question whether compromise is the right thing.  And of course that takes courage.