Leaders Seek Cooperation

Rounding out our month on Leadership, I am happy to share another great post from Dr. Marlene Caroselli, who challenges us to take a different look at the importance of cooperation versus teamwork in building our businesses. In a time when innovation is vital to ongoing business success, it would seem that cooperation should be what leaders work to develop. Enjoy!


Anne Montague, Founder and Executive Director of Thanks, Plain and Simple, Inc., points out that “cooperation and teamwork are not exactly the same.” She explains,  “I’ve learned to look closely at these two words and how they differ.  Early in the development of new projects, programs and processes, even the most obvious solutions often need serious cooperation to advance.

Cooperation’ to me is more like finding the way and teamwork is more like taking the way found.  Cooperating explores and guides; teamwork is just that – a team’s work to get work done that is more defined.”

“Does this make a difference?” she asks, and then provides a carefully considered reply. “Generally, it seems not to.  Yet, when one tries to 1) develop and apply new ideas, 2) adapt old ideas to today’s world or worlds, or 3) combine new and old ideas to create new ways to work and to see life in order to know what is worth doing, it is important to realize that cooperation may require many abilities, especially the ability to tolerate huge frustrations.”

“Further,” Montague continues, “as one looks for, finds, tries out, and even improvises ways to the goal, new opportunities and discoveries are often also found – know-how and show-how expand, so that the adventure of discovering new ways becomes part of the leader’s skills and make that leader so invaluable that others cannot replace her.  Thus, in addition to the original goal that has always been seen, there appears another goal: to build a team that can replace or replicate what the leader has done.

Your Assignment:

Look around. If you give serious focus to your surroundings, you’re bound to find some things that need change, that ought to be different or better. (I like to call this “ought-to-be” leadership.) Outline the steps that would be needed to make the change a reality. Then see if you can exact commitment from others to make the change happen. Depend on teamwork, if you can form a team, and cooperation if teaming isn’t feasible.


Marlene Caroselli, Ed.D. (mccpd@frontiernet.net), is the author of 60+ business books. This blog is based on her recent ebook Jesus, Jonas & Janus: The Leadership Triumvirate, available in Nook and Kindle versions.

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  1. By Leaders Seek Cooperation | Bizjama on March 1, 2012 at 7:21 am

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