The 3 Essential Keys to Having Real Cooperation

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Today lets look at something that is really subtle.

In fact, it’s so subtle that it gets missed… often.

You see, in order to have cooperation occur there are three necessary ingredients.

These ingredients are as important to Cooperation as flour, chocolate and sugar are to chocolate chip cookies.

Without them, it is a disaster.


If you think you have Cooperation occurring, it’s a good idea to test whether these three ingredients are in place.  Otherwise, you might end up working directly against the person you are meant to be cooperating with and you won’t even know it.

Until it’s too late.

What are the three ingredients necessary for cooperation:

  1. A Shared Brightness of Future.  In other words, this is the objective that you are cooperating towards… the beautiful sunset you are both driving towards in the future.  If you don’t all see the same thing, it’s easy to be working against each other.
  2. Frequency of Interaction.  If you are cooperating with someone, it doesn’t work to meet or talk to each other once a year.  There isn’t going to be much cooperation there.  One of the things you will do when interacting frequently is to check that the Shared Brightness of Future is still in place.
  3. Provok-ability.  This isn’t about being a pain in the bum.  Provok-ability is a two way street.  In most companies, provok-ability only goes one way (from the top down).  Here’s an example:  A company has a meeting with every staff member present. Everyone from the janitor to the CEO is there.  They discuss and make decisions about ways to improve productivity.  A number of decisions are made including the decision that from this day forward, there will be no smoking on work grounds.  About three weeks later, the janitor is bringing the bin bags out the back of the building, and when he walks out the back he finds the CEO smoking a cigarette.

Provok-ability is the willingness of the janitor to say to the CEO “I thought we made a decision together that there would be no more smoking on work grounds… how did you make it ok to break the agreement you made with yourself and all of us?”

It’s also the willingness of the CEO to say “You know what… you’re right.  I apologise.”  and then get his arse back inside and get to work.

Provok-ability goes from the top down, the bottom up, and sideways when true cooperation occurs.

Without all three movements, there will be a break in the integrity of the cooperation.

It’s only when stakeholders are truly in cooperation that a partnership can be formed. This means everyone believes in the common goal and takes responsibility for their part in achieving it.

This kind of stakeholder relationship can take time to build and maintain. However, there are fundamental keys you can use to build relationships with stakeholders with ease.

Till next time.

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The 3 Essential Keys to Having Real Cooperation

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