The Art of Cooperation

With a great number of us experiencing a “new normal” away from our typical work scene, it provides us with an opportunity for a little change in perspective. So, today, let’s look at the subject of cooperation and why it is so important to have, as we move toward achieving our goals both as individuals and as organizations.

Change seldom happens in a vacuum. As we move toward our goals, we often must work together with other people. In organizations, this is vital. With a workforce that currently is scattered over tens of square miles, “vital” doesn’t best describe it. When each of us knows how to cooperate, we are much more likely to get the help that allows us to change and grow successfully.

If we try to change without cooperation, we may find ourselves stuck in place or possibly even failing. Goals quickly slip out of reach. Cooperation can mean the difference between being supported and being sabotaged. It is an important skill to have both as an individual and as an organization attempting to grow.

How do we get others to cooperate with us? Well, any gardener will tell you that we reap what we sow. Look for opportunities to help other people and listen to their concerns. Along the same lines, stay open to suggestions and support, when they are offered. And we don’t have to wait for them to be offered. Ask for what is wanted and needed, and that means knowing specifically what that is and from whom it’s needed, as well as why it’s needed. Another’s trust in you and your word is a foundational factor in getting what you need.

Consider being willing to negotiate. Refrain from making demands. Compromise and trade talents and abilities, instead. Be realistic about what is expected from others, and don’t try to get all needs met from just one person. Ask more people to do less, rather than expecting a few people to do more, if that will make it more likely to get what is needed.

When cooperation works as it should, everybody gains something, nobody loses, and all entities move more smoothly toward important goals – as an individual and as an organization.