Are you settling for less?

I was reading an Article recently by Rev. Chris Michaels. In it he says, “Sometimes the greatest temptation in life is to settle for less than we really want.” How often does this happen in the business world? We’ve all heard things like:

–    “You know it is better to go along and get along.”
–    “Not everyone wants the same things you want.”
–    “You have higher standards than everybody else.”

Does that mean we settle? I remember several years ago at a company that was acquired out of bankruptcy, a manager that just could not seem to live up to their commitments to clients. They could not consistently deliver on their promises. Instead of admitting he did not know how he made excuses.

I on the other hand made a stink. I called him on it. I went over his head. I went over his bosses head. And still he was allowed to make excuses.  Eventually I recommended to the client that we were not able to meet the promised deliveries and suggested he look elsewhere. That decision cost me a promotion.

So what do we do? Do we go along to get along? Or do we recognize that standards matter and that it is perhaps more important to find an organization where they share a culture of performance that matches yours, (whatever that may be).


  1. Hi John,

    This is an interesting and complex topic. Do we settle? Probably. Compromise is a key component in most negotiations. That does not mean that it’s bad. Is every battle worth fighting? Do we have to have our way every single time? If my boss makes a decision that I disagree with do I support that decision or do I do what is best for the organization?

    I would tell that compromise is both appropriate and necessary in today’s world. I would also say that if I’m involved in a business discussion, express my thoughts, beliefs, and concerns but the decision is not in my favor, I will follow the decision. That’s my responsibility as an employee.

    Where is compromise not effective or appropriate? When I am being asked to something immoral, illegal, or that goes against my core values. Those are things that I will not compromise on.

    Otherwise, if we all refuse to settle we are asking for stalemate and chaos. Just ask congress.

  2. Dave,

    Thanks for your more reasoned approach. And I agree we don’t want to get stuck in our position such that nothing gets done. And compromise is important. My questions is about settling when it’s important. That requires judgement.

    For example dependability is a core value to me. It could even be called a “need”. I strive to deliver what I say I am going to deliver and that is important. If my organization or my colleagues share that commitment and live to that as well, all is good. It is when the behavior of individuals or organization become in-congruent with our own values that  we have to ask, “Do I settle or do I fight?”

    Thank you for your comments I appreciate you view.

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