Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Cooperation in a Competitive World

To paraphrase Sigmund Freud, “Competition is the royal road to success.” 

However, businesses and organizations that are known for their cooperative efforts rather than their competitiveness do better on most scales of success: faster growth, increased profits, stronger sense of public trust, and longer sustainability.

Cooperation in a competitive world is difficult to understand and even more difficult to execute. Can you have both … can your business or organization be cooperative while remaining competitive in the world today?

It may not be easy, but it certainly is worth it. From the corporate board room to the pee wee football team, cooperation can be encouraged in a number of ways.

Place your highest priority on doing your best.  Doing your best and winning are two different things. One requires focus on your own performance, while the other requires a focus divided between you someone or something else. Concentrate on you or your team’s top performance as your ultimate goal so you can maintain focus on things you can control.

Be patient and allow ample time. Cooperation takes more time than going solo. If being cooperative is your intention, known that it doesn’t happen quickly. It may seem like a “waste” of time to go at a slower, cooperative pace. But if you consider how much time disagreement, failed negotiations, resentment and misunderstanding can take, cooperation isn’t such a waste of time after all.

Share the leadership responsibilities and rewards. When there is an increased sense of ‘ownership’ by all members of a group or team, the environment is more cooperative and typically more productive. Delegating or having team members select which parts of a project they will lead creates instant buy-in from more of your team, and buy-in is necessary for

Reinforce and reward team efforts. Rewarding individual stand-outs might make one team member more competitive, but praising the entire team promotes everyone’s cooperation and, in the long run, everyone’s success. Maximize a productive team by recognizing group efforts that require the input, energy, and cooperation of your team, department, or committee.

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