Some of the benefits of high performing teams results from leveraging the collective wisdom of the team. Unfortunately, this is often misunderstood in application, thus the results never seem magical.
Cooperation (per Wikipedia): is the process of groups of organisms working or acting together for common or mutual benefit, as opposed to working in competition for selfish benefit.
Sounds good, right? It is! This achieves results, but not high performing results. I frequently highlight cooperation is “Your part, My part. I’ll help you as long as my part gets done”. Both parts are needed for the common goal. People want to help each other. They are cooperating.
Collaboration (per Wikipedia): is the process of two or more people or organizations working together to realize or achieve something successfully. Collaboration is very similar to, but more closely aligned than, cooperation, and both are an opposite of competition. Teams that work collaboratively can obtain greater resources, recognition and reward when facing competition for finite resources
So what does “very similar but more closed aligned” mean? I highlight this as “moving away from your part and my part…towards OUR part.” You can’t tell who did what – you built the common benefit together. You leveraged collective wisdom to achieve those greater results.
As a leader, don’t let cooperation be fooled for collaboration. There is a difference!
Are you cooperating or collaborating?