Compete Or Cooperate?

A client is upset because something he halfway realizes is out of his control just went against him. “How did this happen?” “The process was good, this time we just got unlucky.” “Well, what are you going to do about it?” It’s time to make a call – compete or cooperate?

There’s an old marriage joke that goes, “she’s always right and I’m never wrong.” That’s the heart of competition. There’s a winner, a loser, and most importantly, an ending. Cooperation works differently. Individuality gets replaced with plurality. “Sometimes we’re right, and sometimes we’re wrong.” There’s a sense of “us,” and most importantly, no end in sight.

In the client example above it’s on us to turn the conversation away from competition and back to cooperation. While it may be us and the client versus the world, it still needs to be us and the client together. It’s easy to cast blame or walk away. It takes real work to cooperate. However, despite the struggles, the rewards to cooperation are trust, loyalty, and ultimately survival.

There’s a constant push to compete and play finite games. People think they want to win. The better we are at seeing through the challenges and into the potential partnerships that can be forged, the farther into the future we’ll be able to travel. Finding more ways to cooperate, especially when times are tough, is a sure path towards success. Shared success.