The Difference between Compromise and Alignment

As we have been dancing with finding a home, I have been faced with choices that would constitute a compromise of the values that my wife and I feel are important. For instance, I found a great farmhouse for rent with 10 acres of pasture and a barn. The only thing is, conventional GMO crops of soybeans and corn surround the land.

We are committed to making sure that our children don’t live where they would be exposed to chemicals that are used to farm such crops. GMO soybeans and corn are created so that there are no weeds in the fields. The only way to accomplish this is to make the crops resistant to Roundup, an herbicide from Monsanto. This Roundup resistant crop can withstand direct application of the herbicide. That’s why you see these nice rows of crops with no weeds as you drive along the highway.

There are abundant scientific studies that show linkages between Roundup usage and numerous types of cancer and other health challenges from liver and kidney damage and reproductive system disorders. Monsanto has challenged these studies with their own data. What I know is that I don’t want to put our children at risk by exposing them to Roundup.

Now let’s focus on the conversation of alignment versus compromise and the farmhouse. With the end date for our current occupancy closing in, we were faced with this great house, which has a small problem – the herbicides. I could hear my inner voice saying, “What’s a little herbicide? You had far worse when you were young. Hell, you ran after the DDT mosquito truck as a kid and loved it.” I could feel the noose of compromise dropping around my neck. I wanted so badly to remove the uncertainty of not knowing where we are going to live over

This compromise would not be aligned to the values that we hold to be important. As I was listening to my inner compromise voice, I was remembering all the times in my life where I have compromised. I compromised to get the deal done. I compromised so that we could move the decision along. I compromised because people would be upset otherwise. You know your version of the compromise story.

I have been taught that compromise is noble and it is required to get things done. Yet, I had lingering concerns that compromise was not exactly the right approach. Since I didn’t have another alternative and wanted to get by and get along, I compromised.

Some years ago, in my work with corporate groups, I began to spend time teaching about alignment. Alignment is about bringing together the concerns and values of all involved in a way where everyone feels good about a decision rather than compromising and ending up with something that no one particularly feel right about.

It is this approach of alignment that brought out the best outcome with the farmhouse. As we talked about the right decision, it was easy. My wife was holding true to our values. Rather than trying to convince her to compromise, I listened to what is important to her (and me for that matter) and felt if there was a place of alignment of values with this farm. Nope, this was the wrong choice for us and we moved on to await other possibilities.

This topic is broad and warrants greater discussion. I will offer in the next month an expanded paper on alignment and compromise. I’ll let you know when it will be available.

Until later,


Author: Thomas White

Over the past thirty-five years, Thomas White has created and led private and public organizations that initiated breakthroughs in areas as diverse as computer software, publishing, printing, market research, leadership development and organizational change. The common ingredients in his success are simple. He looked beyond the limitations that others believed and found real solutions to needs that business leaders have. He attracted the best talent to translate these innovative solutions into practical products and services that were of high value to customers. He created cultures where people love what they do, work at their best and produce extraordinary results. In addition to his role as a business leader, Thomas has been a pioneer and inventor of technologies in the computer-networking field. He is a patent holder for innovations in business process and workflow technology. As part of his passion for educating others about the interface of human and computer systems, he was the co-author of “New Tools for New Times, The Workflow Paradigm”. He has also written articles for numerous publications. In 2001, he turned his attention from leading companies to supporting leadership teams in creating organizations of excellence. After many years of being a part of the machine of change, Thomas recognized that business is the most powerful force in the world. It has a major impact on public policy and governments everywhere. It is a key influence on how we use our resources and sets an example of the values that shape communities from local to global. He formed the consulting firm of Profoundly Simple to be a guide for exemplary leaders - leaders who wisely uses the power they are entrusted with to serve their constituencies first and themselves second; leaders who know that it is good business to treat people with respect, honor the environment and act with impeccable integrity – leaders who inspire greatness in those around them and by doing so create great organizations that are notable examples of success. Feeling the itch to get back into the game again, Thomas joined with two long time friends, to start the C-Suite Network. This network of business leaders offers an online network, events, services, and insights to its 500,000 member community. In addition, the C-Suite Network produces and distributes television and radio content to an audience of over 5M per month

2 thoughts on “The Difference between Compromise and Alignment”

  1. Life’s amazing and an examined life is a priceless gift to our world as are you my amazing Nephew. Love Thomas, Unkle Terrt

  2. Compromise doesn’t really arise from Essence. My teacher, Thomas, tells me that listening through the vehicle of the body for the Voice of Who I Am is the only bit of guidance I need, and it arises moment to moment.

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