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The Must-Have Ideology for 2014: Collaboration

The Lose-Lose Mentality

In the world of problem solving, we have been trained to think all parties involved must lose, or give up, something. We call this compromise. We do this with work situations, family issues and intimate relationships. You’ve heard it said before, “If you want to have any chance of working this out, you’re just going to have to compromise.” But, the mindset, or energy, of compromise is based on loss so going into a negotiation with this point of view is inefficient and unsatisfying. Yet, we do this every day. We deserve better. It’s time to change the mindset we use for problem solving. It’s time to think collaboration!

Let’s take a look at politicians in the US government as an example. In the compromise model, something is proposed and then the fighting begins for each side to hold onto what they think is most important to them. Immediate polarization occurs, which translates into an “us-them” attitude. The arguing over what is important can go on for years over the simplest issues, as we have seen many times, often with no solution. Additionally, the original issue can, and typically does, become lost in the shuffle. The driving force behind this mindset is each side working to give up as little as possible. And both sides know automatically that a lose-lose situation is the only outcome.

The divisions continue even after a settlement is agreed upon because the energy of the entire process is negative and disingenuous. This is the same process we use to deal with divorce, holiday celebrations, lover’s quarrels and more. Our egos get stuck holding onto what we think we need individually rather than to look at what is best for all parties involved.

Digging deeper, we can see that in the game of compromise all parties are only partially satisfied. That leaves them partially dissatisfied as well. And there is no guarantee that the level of satisfaction or dissatisfaction is equally split. A 25/75 split is as possible as a 75/25 split. The odds can be even worse in this system. Sour grapes are a given with results like these. And what has truly been solved? Not as much as we may think. The hard feelings, the grudges and the stress of the situation often continue after the settlement. The fact is the real problem hasn’t been completely solved with all of the special interest bickering and the me-me-me diversions. This hardly seems suitable as a problem solving technique. There must be something nobler than compromising for all of us.and there is. Enter collaboration to save the day.

In contrast to compromise, collaboration is an entirely connecting, positive experience because the mindset behind this model of problem solving is based on an all for one and one for all point of view. There are no losers here. In fact, the benefits of collaboration are amazing and far-reaching.

Collaboration starts with an agreement between all parties that the whole is more important than the one. A common goal of win-win is automatically set up and the energy of this model is far superior, highly efficient and sincere compared to compromising. With collaboration, the focus of the team is the common goal, not individual interests. There are no sides here so there are no losers. Everyone is on the same side.
Collaboration is a win-win problem solvingmodel.

Stress is greatly reduced or non-existent. Who doesn’t need that added benefit? Parties are automatically connected which is important in a world where most people feel alone and lonely. Problems are actually solved which means more time can be allocated to the implementation of the solution that benefits everyone. And there are resources left for future problems, if needed- human, financial and emotional resources. Collaboration is clearly simpler and more meaningful to the collective.

It’s a Matter of Fear v. Love

It’s important to understand that these two systems of problem solving arise from very different places. One arises from fear and the other arises from love. One arises from the ego-based mind and the other from the heart. The problem with a fear-driven, ego-based problem solving model is that the solutions aren’t really solutions. They are just ways to meet the needs of someone’s fears about not having enough or not being enough .¨ though these are really one in the same.

Our true nature is to work from the heart for the benefit of all, but the way we have been taught to think tells us to do something very different. And, let’s be honest, it isn’t really working for us. Politics is just one example of the grid-lock, separation and nastiness that compromise musters up along the way. But, we can change that. We have the power to choose alternatives to the current system for all-encompassing, healthy, happy endings.

Collaboration provides the opportunity to come together, to check egos at the door and have as a goal, the greater good of all parties involved. It is the difference between everyone losing and everyone winning. But, this is just the surface of the stories that each of these points of view tells.

The chart below (Fig. 1) contrasts compromise with collaboration. When placed side-by-side, it is easy to see the hardship the system of compromise causes us. On the other hand, the amazing benefits of collaboration are obviously in alignment with love, peace and connectedness. This is, of course, true power.



Ego-based – FEAR

Heart-based – LOVE

Lose-lose mentality

Win-win mentality

Benefits the Few

Benefits the Many

Long, grueling process

Short, pleasant process









The “Me-me-me” agenda

The “All of us” agenda

Position of mistrust

Position of trust




Problem solving



Fig. 1

See if you can experience the energetic difference between compromise and collaboration. Read the following sentences below and see which one feels best to you:

1. Company A is working with Company B. Both companies are compromising to bring you a new product.

2. Company A is working with Company B. Both companies are collaborating to bring you a new product.

Can you see the very subtle, yet, extremely powerful difference with the mindset of collaboration vs. compromise? When we begin with collaboration as the mindset, the stuff that really matters gets solved and relationships are repaired or forged. The more you incorporate collaboration into your life, the more you will realize its many benefits.

Three Simple Steps to Collaborating

You can get started today shifting from compromise to collaboration in your life in three simple steps.

Step 1: Change Your Perspective – Before you even enter into a negotiation to solve a perceived problem, decide in your mind that you are going to work with the other party or parties for the good of all. Decide to set your ego aside and approach the situation with love, kindness and understanding.

This may seem difficult or impossible, but give it a chance. Practice this at every opportunity. The more you operate as a team, working for a common goal that serves everyone, the easier this will be. It is, in fact, our natural course of action when working with others which is why it is so healing.

Step 2: Agree on a Common Goal – Agree on the outcome to be achieved then focus on the outcome. Set your sights and your energy on that goal. Agree not to argue, name call or focus on individual wants. This will set up a team-oriented energy and you will move as a unit in the same direction rather than as individuals choosing sides with special interests. With the latter, everyone scatters in their own direction and nothing really gets accomplished except for deepening the existing gaps.

Practice staying focused on the agreed upon common goal and let your heart speak when you throw out suggestions for problem solving. Heart-focused problem solving automatically takes into account the connection we have to everyone and everything. It is a purer way to arrive at a solution.

Step 3: Celebrate Your Victory Together – One of the greatest outcomes of collaboration is the connectivity it creates. The team effort feels like one happy family. The shared excitement and achievements of solving a problem together that serves the whole is exhilarating. Instead of being left stressed out and exhausted, you are left feeling refreshed and happy. Celebrating together keeps you connected for the next issue that pops up and solutions come more quickly each time. You will have more time to sit back, relax and enjoy life. We deserve nothing less.

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