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Do you Collaborate or Cooperate?

Two words that are similar but vastly different in their impact to driving sustainable change and innovation.

inspire or cooperateDo you collaborate…look for the best and most diverse team to drive results? Or do you co-operate standing on the sidelines while others drive forward.

This is a critical question and a true indicator of your leadership effectiveness.  Do you inspire others to add value, bring their best self, or does your team just follow the directions?

For me, it’s a great indicator of whether people, teams and organizations will engage fully to drive sustainable change or just go thru the motions. In the beginning, following guidelines and best practices are a great starter kit.  But you don’t stop there. You will never increase your power to add value and collaboration around the larger issues and drive change until you learn to collaborate.

And unfortunately, cooperation is a façade. It looks like things are moving but in reality, your team is just treading water.  And frankly – once the focus shifts, they will stop even that minimum level of activity.

Let’s be frank here, co-operation while not necessarily a bad thing, is usually an indicator of one of three things:

1) the mission isn’t clear so they don’t understand the why and are acting out of fear.

2) they don’t know how to engage so they do as you tell them but nothing more. or

3) they simply don’t want to engage.

In all cases, the accountability is yours because they are doing as they were told.   Take time to first be aware of the level of collaboration vs. cooperation. It is a vital first step to drive forward movement. Then engage more fully to understand why “cooperation” and not collaboration is happening.  It will allow your leadership to be focused.  And finally, focus on meeting people where they are.  This is the only way to help build and establish collaboration as the new standard.

In the end, this focus is what drives accountability, accelerates learning and builds sustainable mojo in your organization. And this mojo will build and take you and your leadership to a new level, but only if you engage and move too.
How are you engaging to drive collaboration in your life with your leadership?

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