A belated August newsletter with some further September thoughts
What is the biggest barrier to cooperation?
Old style treating people as resources, keeping people in the dark, not admitting when things go wrong, pretending that you have all the answers are all factors in a non-cooperative organisation. But the biggest single barrier to cooperation is thinking that only one person has all the answers.
Cooperation is based upon the ability of people to give and take and to understand each others points of view. Sometimes I think this simple fact gets lost in all the management speak, leadership gurus or specialist coaching systems that people use to help them to adapt and communicate with one another
Does speed equal effectiveness?
What seems to get in the way is time, we don’t have enough of it, and we need to do other things? We start to take short cuts in what we say and how we say it, hoping that the other person will magically understand what’s inside our heads.
Unfortunately this doesn’t often work.
Sometimes we need time to check out what is being said, sometimes we need to ask questions, and sometimes we need to understand the intention behind what is being said, even if it isn’t stated explicitly. This takes time. This contradicts the old adage ‘speed equals effectiveness’. Speed does not always equal effectiveness; in fact speed can be very ineffective, especially where it hinders understanding.
The more we understand and seek to understand each other the more the barrier gets lowered and the ability to cooperate increases.
Another factor in cooperation is that both sides need to have something that is useful for them; this is bit of an extension of ‘what’s in it for me’, it now becomes ‘what’s in it for us’. Getting people to cooperate creates a shared mutual benefit.
What drives and motivates us is there all the time in our language, in our emotions and in our thoughts. I have often worked with teams and individuals to bridge a divide and scale a barrier and it always starts by carefully drawing out what they really mean.
So the biggest barrier to cooperation is simple really: it’s you and me.
This is often born out by being not only being unclear about our goals but also even more unclear about our intention which sits beneath the goal and adjusts it in our thinking.
So collaboration s much more about having aligned intentions way of thinking beliefs and values