Late this evening, CNN and other networks reported that a secret meeting between Barack Obama and Senator Hillary Clinton was taking place. Initially, it was reported that Mr. Obama visited that he visited Clinton's home in Washington, D.C. Immediately, the pundits declared how magnanimous and generous Obama was, by actually going to meet Clinton at her home turf.
"It shows what kind of a candidate he was," praised a commentator on CNN.
Another one declared that Mr. Obama must be careful not to select Clinton as his running mate for fear of being portrayed as "pressured by the Clinton threats."
A major theme in the punditry has been this whole notion of Clinton not be a gracious loser by conceding immediately. In an interesting commentary in the the Washington Post, Ruth Marcus cited the generosity extended by Ulysses Grant to Robert E. Lee after their battles in the Civil War. A grateful Lee later declared that the graciousness,"...will have a very happy effect upon my army."
In business, we are often put in a position to either compromise or to push things through. I find it hard to believe that even in today's world, people believe in the notion that a winner has to "prove his mettle" by looking to be strong. If Obama picks Clinton as his running mate, it is only those in the media that will consider it a weakness.
A leader gets his strength, not from his position, but from his ability to do things that only he can do. Thus, I always consider it that only the individual in position of power can compromise, and in fact, it is most often true that he should be the one compromising. The illusion that one has to prove that he is the stronger one is the most manifest display of weakness.
So if you are still in an argument with a subordinate, remember, you're really the only one that can compromise; and by doing so, you are demonstrating that you're in charge.
Oh, and going back to the CNN story, the later reported that the meeting took place at a neutral setting. The commentator who spoke of Mr. Obama's magnanimity in meeting Hillary at her home spoke very little afterwards.
That's another good reason to compromise. It looks better when your original position was wrong.