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The Compromise Trap: How to Thrive at Work without Selling Your Soul Paperback – November 2, 2009
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“The Compromise Trap will confirm the experience of all who work in systems. It is insightful and well written and aims us in the right direction.”
—Peter Block, author of Stewardship and The Answer to How Is Yes
“Human nature has a strong compassionate, cooperative base that needs to be rediscovered. Elizabeth Doty’s systemic and realistic approach provides guidance on how we can make the world a better place for everyone, not just for ourselves.”
—Napier Collyns, cofounder, Global Business Network
“The Compromise Trap is thoughtful, pragmatic, and provocative and a pleasure to read.”
—Joseph L. Badaracco Jr., John Shad Professor of Business Ethics, Harvard Business School
“Elizabeth Doty has brought greater depth of understanding to one of the major dilemmas of organizational life: what causes people to do what they believe is not right? I hope this book encourages everyone to avoid the compromise trap and provides leaders with insight that will help them create healthy organizations where people and the business thrive.”
—Nancy Southern, Chair, Organizational Systems Program, Saybrook Graduate School
“The Compromise Trap clearly and directly addresses an essential principle for navigating toward a more sustainable economy—acting from the center. Without acting from what is true for each of us, our collective actions may not realize our intentions, which is a great risk indeed.”
—Stacey Smith, Managing Director, Advisory Services, BSR
“An engaging and easy-to-understand analysis of the traps we weave at work and, frankly, in our daily lives. This book is relevant to anyone looking to ‘redefine the game.’ With the ethics breakdowns in business over the past decade, it is a must-read for every business school student and businessperson up to and including the C-suite and the board.”
—Steven F. McCann, retired Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Longs Drugs Stores
“The Compromise Trap reveals the pandemic of incremental soul- selling in the workplace, as people compromise bit by bit until one day they wake up in disbelief at the full cost. Read this book and liberate yourself and your colleagues from the indentured spiritual servitude that sometimes seems required to earn a living. A how-to on the emancipation of the soul at work.”
—John Renesch, businessman-turned-futurist, senior executive adviser, and author of Getting to the Better Future
“I agree with Doty: you cannot outsource your integrity to your leader. The Compromise Trap is an important book, not only for our corporate lives, but also for our health and wholeness as a society.”
—Roger Saillant, former senior executive, Ford Motor Company
“Elizabeth Doty has touched on one of the often-secret dilemmas of organizational life: how to stay true to your deeper ‘knowing’ as you navigate the delicate terrain of organizational politics, ethical forks in the road, personal well-being, and competing loyalties. Her pioneering illumination of practical steps we can take, both individually and collectively, to embrace the higher possibilities inherent in even the most difficult situations is a great contribution to organizational leaders and members everywhere. Brava!”
—Juanita Brown and David Isaacs, cofounders, The World Café, and coauthors of The World Café: Shaping Our Futures Through Conversations That Matter
“Stephen Covey once told me, ‘Integrity is the value you place on your relationship with yourself.’ The Compromise Trap addresses how to deal with the small temptations that chip away at that value and shows us how to protect the integrity and purpose in our lives. The Compromise Trap is absorbing and entertaining, but, most important, it’s a book
for our times.”
—Mike Harvey, Change Facilitator, Dow Chemical Company
“Doty explores the tangles of thought, feeling, loyalty, and pain that we all carry in our hearts. How do I rationalize my values with those of my organization? What do I do when they are in conflict? Can I fully participate in the moves of the organization while still honoring my deepest values? This book offers us a way to think about that trap and six valuable tools for setting our own path, shedding light on a powerful hidden force that slows much of our individual and shared success.”
—Herb Wimmer, retired Facility Manager, Chevron Corporation
From the Publisher
Praise for The Compromise Trap
"To say yes to our integrity, we need to say no to what is wrong, but how? In this insightful and practical book, Elizabeth Doty shows us how to engage constructively in shaping our work environment to create value for ourselves, our organizations, and the larger world. I recommend this book highly."
--William Ury, coauthor of Getting to Yes and author of The Power of a Positive No
"Doty provides an observant and critical analysis of the long-term destructive influences compromising can have on morality and effectiveness. All in all, this book will be good for your ethical behavior and your managerial performance."
--Max H Bazerman, Straus Professor, Harvard Business School
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The demands of the workplace are challenging at all times and particularly challenging in today's business climate. Well-meaning people at all levels of organizations find themselves facing choices every day that create internal conflicts, confronting them with difficult choices, often resulting in compromises that they might regret later on. Elizabeth Doty's book provides the clearest understanding to date as to how we get ourselves into these traps and how we can work our way through them in ways that support our integrity and self-worth.
The book's description of "Healthy" versus "Unhealthy" compromises lends important insight into how we can navigate through the complexity of our commitments and relationships at work and in our lives. The chapter on "Five Positive Plays" offers excellent and practical advise. There are many other pearls of wisdom and usable tools throughout the book.
What was particularly useful about this book:
* It offers unexpected ways to diagnosis and frame our healthy and unhealthy compromises
* It provides specific exercises and effective ways to achieve greater congruence with our values
* It is applicable to both individuals and organizations
* It provides access to online resources that complement the exercises in the book
As a consultant working with organizations, and committed to social change myself, I was delighted to have found this book. I find it an essential tool for the kind of inner and outer organizational changes that will make it possible to successfully address such issues as climate change, global economic challenges, and creating sustainable ethical business practices.
The book is at once professional, supportive, and encouraging of self-reflection and commitment. It is a great resource for successfully responding to the simultaneous pressures of work, home and world.
Each of the stories shared in "The Compromise Trap" mentions some sort of communication with leaders of an organization. As a manager -- leader -- you could think about what you would have done if the employee had come to you. The examples and issues might also prompt consideration of the environment in your company: Is it the kind in which people can and do come to you with similarly-weighty concerns?
This book can also be a tool leaders use to clarify what they feel is important. Only a few of the examples and stories have a clear right or wrong, the rest present an opportunity to ask yourself if you would have done something differently at all.
Using the book in this way is possible because Ms. Doty presents the examples and makes her key points without a hint of preachiness. She's included a fairly wide range of industries, making it easy to relate to. All in all, this is a great read whether you're a business leader at or near the top of the ladder, or working several rungs below.
Elizabeth Doty, in her insightful book, "The Compromise Trap," informs us that many MBAs are already taking such an oath. "The Compromise Trap" is a call to all of us to step up and take personal responsibility for our work ethics and the standards by which we lead our lives. Drawing on powerful interviews with people who compromised and were courageous in their work situations, she shows how we can strengthen our internal reinforcements, redefine the way we conduct ourselves, and develop a more adult relationship to authority. Doty shows how moving beyond fear is at the core of the matter, and that the lines drawn between our work and personal lives are artificial ones--the values we display in one, inevitably seep into and affect the other. She expands her insights to the world stage by quoting Vaclav Havel, on how an inner split was at the heart of what enabled the totalitarian regime to continue in Czechoslovakia: "We were all morally sick because we got used to thinking one thing and saying another."
This valuable book offers practical ways in which we can craft our lives in order to engage at the highest level, and live more authentically.