Cooperate With Me – Please!
This summer, we’ve been exploring the aspect of The LAITHOS Way™ that we call Expand Your Influence. With the intention of broadening and deepening relationships with others, we’ve delved into ways of supporting engagement with others and fostering those connections.
With that strong foundation in place, we now focus on the next critical component of growth … collaboration. The act of collaborating benefits not only the specific relationship but also has the potential of benefiting the greater community.
According to Webster, to collaborate is “to work jointly on an activity, especially to produce or create something.” It sounds simple – yet there are three distinct facets of collaboration: cooperation, communication, and coordination. One without the other won’t result in the optimum outcome.
Today we’re focusing on cooperation which can have more to do with how you show up with others than with what you do when you are together. What do you see when you look at the photo above? You may have noticed that it is not merely many hands banding together, but that they are open hands. In the spirit of forming that banding together, people must be ready to both share with one another and receive from one another. To share and receive, an individual must possess both an open mind and an open heart.
I love quotes – they speak to me. So, when I was looking for some on this topic, it initially surprised me to find several that contrasted cooperation with competition. Sure, sometimes people may have competing ideas, but aren’t there other reasons for a lack of cooperation? Disinterest, irrelevance, bad timing, etc.
With a bit of reflection, I realized all those other justifications may represent various forms of competition … different ways of saying, “I am more important than your/this issue;” “My needs are more superior than yours.” This is when I believe we take cooperation for granted. How many times have you said you wanted to cooperate, yet spent a lot of time trying to convince others to accept your ideas? Or you took a strong stance on why someone’s idea wouldn’t work?
What would change if we were intentional when it comes to participating in collaborative opportunities by starting with assessing our own level of cooperation and openness?
As Bryant McGill, author of Voice of Reason, says: “We must reprogram ourselves to understand that cooperation is a higher principle than competition.”
This Week: Actively find an opportunity to cooperate with someone. Be purposeful in how you show up with open mind and heart. Be aware of your words and actions. Reflect on the experience and ask yourself these questions: 1) How open was I in receiving? 2) In my openness to share, could anything I said be remotely related to being – or feeling – competitive? 3) What felt different about this way of cooperating versus how I have typically cooperated?
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