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To Collaborate or To Compromise … Which Is Best?

The people factor and your ability to absorb change could and does make all the difference for IT service providers.  Most IT practitioners will agree that “change” requires some organizational change management.  Organizational Change Management (OCM) is the process of preparing, motivating and equipping people to meet new business challenges.  Conflict can be looked upon as good!  Embrace conflict don’t ignore or avoid it because it is necessary to listen to conflicting opinions that may not have been considered.  Learning to use different conflict modes helps to move forward and increase engagement that could make your organizational change a success.
The Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument is a tool for helping people understand how different conflict-handling styles affect interpersonal and group dynamics and for empowering them to choose the appropriate style for any situation.  I was studying this in preparation for an “Organizational Change Management” workshop and had an ah-ha moment regarding the use of  “Collaborating” vs. “Compromising”.   

It always appeared to me that compromising was good.   Jayne Groll, President of ITSM Academy, explained that compromising is not bad but perhaps “collaborating” would be better.   This makes perfect sense when we think about the fact that when you compromise someone is giving up something.  That means that someone “loses” some and that another “wins” more.  There is an agreement or “compromise” on this win/loss solution but a “Win” and “Loss” none the less.  Now let’s consider “collaboration”.  Collaborating is both assertive and cooperative.  Collaborating involves an attempt to work with others to find some solution that fully satisfies their concerns. It means digging into an issue to pinpoint the underlying needs and wants of the two individuals. Collaborating between two persons might take the form of exploring a disagreement to learn from each other's insights or trying to find a creative solution to an interpersonal problem.  The greatest benefit is that “collaboration” ensures a win/win solution.  


So should we “Collaborate” or “Compromise”?  The answer is yes.  The challenge is to know the difference between these and other conflict-handling styles and when to use them to ensure your strategic initiatives.

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