Compromise vs Collaboration

THE REPUBLICANS JUST NEED TO COMPROMISE! THE DEMOCRATS JUST NEED TO COMPROMISE! I am getting a bit frustrated (a bit? a whole lot!) at the posturing and finger pointing in Washington, D.C., and I suspect that you are too. Not much is getting done, it seems to me, because of the compromise mode.

We need to face it. Democrats and Republicans, not to mention Libertarians and Independents, do not agree on much of anything. Think about it. We do not agree about abortion, size of government, taxes, immigration, debt, taxes; the list goes on and on. We don’t even seem to be able to agree on whether or not it is OK for a senator to take a drink of water during a speech! In the midst of this, voices are crying out for compromise.

Just for fun, I looked up compromise in my ever-faithful Webster’s New World Dictionary and found the following definition. “A settlement in which each side gives up some demands or makes concessions.” The political parties are so very far apart on some of the issues facing them that compromise would mean giving up some deeply-held beliefs that neither side would be wiling to do. So compromise does not look like it is going to happen. In the meantime, we who are in the trenches, going to work every day and taking care of our obligations, are left hanging.

I think there is a better solution to conflict resolution, and (you guessed it) that is Collaboration. In many divorce situations, it is highly likely that both parties are going to draw a line in the sand and then battle it out until one is willing to give up his or her most important beliefs and desires. With Collaboration, that usually isn’t necessary.

The Collaborative format involves having the parties and their attorneys, along with other professionals as needed, sit around the table together and work through the many issues that divorce brings. This is an attitude producing a solution that will work for each person and the rest of the family, leading to positive action in the midst of an extremely negative situation. Are both parties always 100 percent pleased with the results? Probably not, but the ideal is that no one goes out of the meetings feeling like he or she has been sandbagged. If it can work in a divorce situation, perhaps it could work in Washington, DC as well.

Next week, I will give a simple, real-life example of Collaboration at work, and hopefully it will give an idea of how this can work. See you then!

Copyright 2013. Marjorie E. James. All rights reserved.

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