In business these days, and especially in fast-moving industries, it rarely pays to compromise. Compromise in my view is not BATNA, the Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement. No-one’s happy when you compromise. Both parties end up sharing the middle ground – results-wise – of mediocrity and missed opportunities.

Life and work should be about doing your absolute best and not settling for your second best work. What’s the point otherwise? It’s no longer enough to be ‘good enough’, because that’s not going to last ‘long enough’.

I was reminded of this fact the other day when I went to the gym. Three things happened that made me think of the folly of compromise.

Firstly, our gym is on the first floor, on the floor above the changing room and the pool. It’s two flights of stairs, and there is also a lift to the first floor to access the hotel rooms, for elderly, disabled or heavily laden residents. I saw someone about my age taking the lift. Up to the gym, and down again later. Defeating the object of exercise surely?

Secondly, there are two banks of treadmills.  On one treadmill I saw a guy walking slowly. On his mobile. While he was walking, which was pretty slow given how distracted he was. Could he be making less of an effort, short of stopping altogether?

Thirdly, the gym happened to be playing a collection of really good dance tracks, presumably to help with motivation and atmosphere. Except that each track was a cover version, and a pretty poor imitation at that. Talk about ruining the user experience.

If you compromise, on effort for convenience, or on quality for reducing cost, you make it harder to get to your target, which is a happier customer, co-worker, friend or family member. Or a happier you.

Advertisements