The Art of Cooperation

We live in the information age. Information is vast, everywhere and is constantly being created, copied, re-invented and altered. No wonder that one person alone cannot hold all the knowledge and skills required for a job. 20 years ago a study concluded that people held about 15-20% of the information and skills required for a job internally and resourced the rest from outside.

"Cooperation has become the most vital skill."

Cooperation has become the most vital skill in order to complete work, and do it well. Some leaders make a point of hiring team players to foster a culture of collaboration. Teams are said to achieve a multitude of what the individuals would add up to. The search for the perfect team has become something like the search for the holy grail of modern businesses.

Harnessing true diversity

2017 many companies have proclaimed to raise their diversity across the board. The goal is to encourage innovation, stay competitive and increase performance. When people from all walks of live get thrown together we do open the door for great things. But the reality is that diversity in its true sense comes with challenges that can cause friction:

  • Different ways of working
  • Different perspectives and ideas
  • And diverse preferences and behaviours

It’s down to the leader and the team to be able to deal with tension and harness the energy for something positive.

"Like true artists, we need to practice our cooperation skills."

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Cooperation is an Art. Something that needs to be done consciously until it becomes second nature. And like true artists, we need to practice our cooperation skills to continuously improve. Cooperation comes more natural to some people than others. And that is diversity too!

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Do you have the right mix?

To assemble a great team, you obviously need people with subject matter expertise. Those experts make sure things are done right. You also need people that are naturally good at harmonising and getting people to work together. In fact, the more complex a task, the more of these people that glue everyone together you will need. And that is not all! You need people that are not afraid to fail and will try new things to allow for innovation. And on top of that, to make sure you end up with something useable in the near future you will need people that bring persistence in pursuing a goal.

These are the aspects we focus on when we talk about cognitive diversity and the art of cooperation.

Because the more colourful the mix, the better interpersonal skills are required to avoid frustration, hypocrisy and tension.



The Art of Cooperation

Eva is one of the masterminds behind Approach Services' blog and The 6 Cents of Change. She is an innovator, trainer and change manager. Her work has been published in Schmalenbach Journal of Business Research. In her spare time, she enjoys camping with her two little boys and permaculture gardening.

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