“If you want to get along, you have to go along,” was the advice legendary Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn gave to members of Congress. It was the mantra by which he governed the House of Representatives.
While Rayburn’s adage is focused on what it takes to succeed within a legislative body, it applies equally to functioning successfully with colleagues in any organization. The nut of Rayburn’s words mean you have to learn to give a little to get something in return: In other words, you have to compromise.
Today, I see too many people who see compromise as a bad thing, an abandonment of principle. In reality, a willingness to compromise is a sign of great conviction: the conviction that the organization comes first.
As easy as that sounds, it is remarkably hard to adopt.