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Team Building

Collaboration and Cooperation: Working Effectively in Teams

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“You can’t shake hands with a clenched fist.” Indira Gandhi

INTRODUCTION: Team Building In Relationship To This Article

What does Cooperation and Collaboration signify when talking about Team Building? How can these two help a team successfully achieve their goals? If we dig deeper into it, cooperation is the development of the individual, not against others, but with others. While, collaboration is an activity where two or more people work together as part of the processes towards shared goals such as a team building activity.

Cooperation and Collaboration are cousins. They go together like peanut butter and jam. If you look in a thesaurus, you might see them defining each other. For our purpose, we will treat them as Siamese twins. Happily, “You can’t have one without the other”. It is a big step in an organization to create collaborative teams. Luckily, there are tried and true hints from many authors and these establish a workable process for us. Collaborative teams are all about people; however, as we all know and recognize, people are complex beings.

Personalities and agendas come into play. Conflicts may emerge. Roles may collide. Generations may collide. There are many variables but effective planning and strategizing, setting values and principles for the collaborative process, and opening the door wide enough for the creative process to emerge will establish a great environment for the collaborative process to develop.

In team building, the cooperation of each team member is needed in order for them to achieve their shared goals. But cooperation alone is not enough to achieve goals in a team building activity. Collaboration needs to be part of the game.

Perhaps these tried and true hints will help:

• Choose your collaborative team members wisely. Ensure that their talents, knowledge and skills can effectively contribute to the desired outcome and are complementary to other members intellectually, technically, socially and for the inevitable decision-making. Then, empower them.

• Make sure that all of the resources needed are available. This can take the tension away on that note. Nothing is worse than being asked to do a job that is under-resourced!

• Get to know your team members individually and collectively. Encourage their hearts and minds to expand and stretch as you consider the questions and the viable options. Know their weaknesses as well so they don’t haunt you later!

• Engage in story-telling so collaborative team members get to know each other on a personal level. Talk about their experiences with teamwork. Help them get the ‘feeling’ of a collaborative team, get the elephants out of the way and surface the man-eating tigers!

• Together, identify a doable pathway (respecting timetables) to get there with achievable and real milestones along the way to celebrate, celebrate, celebrate. The ‘Yes, we can! attitude!

• Talk about having emotional intelligence – an understanding of personal responses to and ways of being in a situation. Be ready to mediate where needed. Be ready to create work partners where needed. Trust is established when everything is out on the table, linen is aired appropriately within the team, and competition gives way to cooperation and mutual support.

• Ensure open communication channels and make sure communication is clear, effective and timely.

• Model and foster mutual accountability. Be prepared to share the glory and the not so glorious.

You can’t have cooperation without collaboration and collaboration without cooperation while performing team building activities. If you utilize the combination in your team work while performing Team Building activities then it will be easy for you to achieve team goals. Not just during team building exercises but also in the real work place.

Cooperation and collaboration rely on people. People have attitudes that they choose every day. Make sure that your collaborative team has an open, honest, authentic and committed attitude by creating the atmosphere for creativity to flow, trusting their work, and encouraging their hearts. Take a Philly Hops workshop experience to learn about collaboration and have fun along the way!

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Comments

  1. People innovate more in a collaborative workplace because “two heads are better than” and you can capitalize from a multitude of ideas and view points. Solutions tend to be more diverse and creative.

    • Betty Robinson says:

      I certainly conform! Two heads are better than one. You cannot win or achieve your goal on team building activities when you don’t have these 2 (collaboration and cooperation) in your team. You cannot just work with cooperation alone or collaboration alone. The 2 needs to be together.

  2. … also, in my experience, a workplace that emphasizes collaboration tends to have a more ‘team work’ oriented environment since sharing is encouraged. I have found that when teamwork is emphasized, productivity is generally higher.

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