A good friend once told me, “You and I are more than best friends. We’re like a really small gang.”
I told him he was a pretty gutsy operator, so he said, “Then let’s cooperate. We’ll get more done.”
Cooperation takes the same kind of art as a duet or a choir… and business is a symphony of co-operation. That’s a different view than many people have of modern business built along the lines of dominance and servitude and chain of command.
Jonathan Haidt, a social psychologist and Professor of Ethical Leadership at New York University’s Stern School of Business, teaches, “The most powerful force ever known on this planet is human cooperation.”
An interesting feature of cooperation, it seems to me, is that it often attracts people to come together with seemingly unrelated skills to produce surprising results. Cooperation can create synergy, where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
Consider the national hardware chain that partnered with TV’s Weather Channel some years ago. Their cooperation probably saved thousands of lives and billions of dollars’ worth of personal property. Ordinary advertising alone sells lawn mowers and house paint while the Weather Channel warns people to stay inside.
But when extreme weather came along, a novel broadcast partnership was formed to advise shoppers about just when and what to buy to protect their homes, gardens and personal safety.
An even odder partnership came to light recently when the oilfield services company, Baker Hughes, manufactured special pink drilling bits to make oilfield workers more aware of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
A command structure focused only on a straight line between products and profits probably would not have achieved those results. That is why award winning French novelist, Andre Malraux, put business into proper perspective, saying “To command is to serve, nothing more and nothing less.”
This week the Jamestown Gazette follows up on our invitation to last week’s Doors Open Jamestown, where cooperation and collaboration were spotlighted all across the city. This week’s invitation is to learn about one specific example of a local business, Willowbrook, which is following that model of collaboration and cooperation to build success for itself and the community.
Whether as a business or an individual, it appears that cooperation creates success. Alexander Graham Bell said, “Great discoveries and improvements invariably involve the cooperation of many minds. I may be given credit for having blazed the trail, but when I look at the subsequent developments I feel the credit is due to others rather than to myself.”
And one more thing about cooperation: it creates friendships based on goals and dreams and respect. There’s no better way to build a business, a community or a family.
Enjoy the read.
The Jamestown Gazette