Win With Cooperation, Lose In Compromise Written By Charity Butler
The second baseman lays out on a one-hop shot down the first base line with beautiful full-body extension. She jumps to her feet to complete the play, and the first baseman is nowhere to be found. She runs toward first base and dives at the bag to make the out, unassisted. Great heads-up play!
The next hitter rolls a weak ground ball to the right side. The pitcher leaves the mound in an attempt to make the play, but the first baseman comes up with the ball. While moving toward the middle of the infield, she turns to throw to first for the out. Again, no one is covering the bag, but this time the runner is safe.
When the second baseman was asked why she wasn’t covering first base, she replies, “I was really tired after making that diving play, so I thought we should compromise. Since my first baseman had a break while I made the play by myself, I thought I deserved a break too.”
How infuriating, right? I sense my heart rate increasing as I tell the story. Let’s relax. This particular situation did not actually occur in a game.
The story seems peculiar because the idea of compromise does not fit competitive athletics. In compromising, one sacrifices and then feels entitled to an equal reward or benefit. The team dynamic breaks down when all members are not cooperating to elevate the success of the team. There must be an intentional disregard of individual priorities.
Consider the difference in compromise and cooperation. We often view them as similar, but the concepts are actually complete opposites.
Gandhi said it much more eloquently, “All compromise is based on give and take, but there can be no give and take on fundamentals.”
When it comes to the game of softball, compromise will not cut it! We must give together in order to gain together. True success is not achieved by cutting corners. Our game requires cooperation not compromise.
The founder of J.C. Penney department stores, James Cash Penney, said, “The keystone of successful business is cooperation. Friction retards progress.”
The keystone of a successful team is also cooperation. Compromise will produce friction, and it will retard progress. Cooperation, not compromise, produces success.
“I wish I had played team sports,” says Emmy Award-winning humorist, journalist and actor, Mo Rocca. “I think every kid should. Teamwork builds character – teaches people about leadership and cooperation.”
Even non-athletes understand the value of teamwork and cooperation. Successful business people and championship coaches reject compromise and prize cooperation.
Let’s be objective and observe an arena within which compromise is prevalent: politics. In the political world, giving leeway to the opposing side on one issue to gain ground in another area is so common that it seems to be part of the job description.
Examining compromise from a different perspective, consider romantic relationships. We are told healthy relationships require compromise.
Gordon Training International, an established leader in the world of communication and conflict resolution training, offers a different point of view. In the article, “The Best Relationships Lack Compromise,” the organization teaches, “Instead of putting ourselves through the frustration of not having our needs met through compromise, or feeling like we have to battle our loved ones in a ‘my needs vs. your needs’ battle, we can clearly state our needs and then discuss and reach a solution that meets everyone’s needs [cooperation]. In essence, everyone gets what they want.”
Our teams, programs and families should absolutely work to cooperate. We should willingly work together toward common goals. We must realize, however, cooperation is difficult when compromise is present.
Honestly, I was offended when my now husband stated during our pre-marital counseling that compromise would not be a precedent set in our home. My mind raced, “So what you say goes and what I think does not matter?” But, I was way off track! He understood cooperation is more valuable than compromise. Why not find ways to work together for the rest of our lives, rather than constantly lobby against one another to have our own needs met?
My pre-marital mindset was eerily akin to the attitude of the second baseman in the story shared earlier in this article. Although I was unable to articulate it, my mindset was: “I am entitled to have my needs met, and I will give in direct proportion to my gain.” How unhealthy! How selfish. We are a team, and we work together, for one another. We cooperate.
In our homes, at work, and with friends we should cooperate, but we must not surrender to compromise.
Remember Gandhi’s quote, “All compromise is based on give and take, but there can be no give and take on fundamentals.” He goes on to say, “Any compromise on mere fundamentals is a surrender.”
Allow Andrew Carnegie to broaden our understanding. Mr. Carnegie is found on the Forbes Magazine List of Wealthiest Historical Figures and was one of the most well-known philanthropists of the 19th Century: “The ‘morality of compromise’ sounds contradictory. Compromise is usually a sign of weakness, or an admission of defeat. Strong men don’t compromise, it is said, and principles should never be compromised.”
The 2013 coaching staff at Tallahassee Community College in Tallahassee, FL, knows what it is to stand on principles. When several students disobeyed team policies the week before the start of post-season, these courageous coaches chose to implement the pre-determined program consequences.
Knowing they would not have enough eligible players to field a team in the Florida Junior College State Tournament, the staff benched all players guilty of team violations and subsequently withdrew from post-season play. They chose sacrifice over surrender and did not compromise.
We must be willing to work together, but we must never surrender what is right. Even when it is harder to do right (and usually it is), we must not concede.
Interestingly we find freedom in simply choosing right over wrong. When we choose right, cooperation with others of similar conviction is natural. Those who cut corners and promote compromise may be less enthused about our choices and may even be more inclined to sabotage our efforts.
No matter how others conduct themselves, however, we live lighter and sleep more soundly when we dig deep and find the courage to stand on honorable principles.
“Courage, not compromise, brings the smile of God’s approval.” –Thomas S. Monson