Alone We Can Do So Little, Together We Can Do So Much – Helen Keller : Vyapaarjagat
Alone We Can Do So Little, Together We Can Do So Much – Helen Keller : Vyapaarjagat

Turn on the news any day of the week and you will see countless examples of people competing with – rather than cooperating with – one another. Does the news reflect the people of the world in their true light? It can feel like if someone wins, it must mean that someone else has to lose. Are we equipped to truly cooperate? Or, are we only destined to compete? How can we break the win-lose cycle and learn to do it differently?

Aristotle defined man to be a social animal by nature. He cannot survive without working with others toward a common aim. Research shows that most people, at their core, want to work together. And yet, we’ve also seen that people haven’t always learned “HOW” to cooperate. Majority of small and medium scale corporate houses focus more on their competitors, their strategies, and activities rather than paying attention towards their own business. They would want to see how their competitors are failing. They are interested only in their opponent’s failure to succeed, rather than succeeding themselves.

Similar thing happens in corporate culture too. Often senior leaders look for opportunities to pull down each other. During a meeting, they would be in search of such a topic, through which they will argue unnecessarily with illogical reasoning, just to prove that they are better than others. But there are some healthy-spirited leaders, who give space to others, appreciate others in public for their better performances and exemplify the spirit of real leadership; they believe in Sam Snead’s quote – “Forget your opponents; always play against Par”. A true leader is the one who puts aside his ego, understands and accommodates other people’s opinions and over time, gets a prominent place in the spectrum.

During the past five years, one of the research analyst, Mehul, examined collaborative working practices and what we call as cooperative mindset in various leading companies. He found that while almost all managers and the companies they work for recognize teamwork’s critical value and the importance of cultivating a cooperative mindset, many actually encourage behaviours that undermine cooperation.  

In one of the companies (manufacturing high-voltage cable wires), he met Peter, the Vice President- Marketing.  Peter spoke in very positive terms about cooperation and directed Mehul’s attention to this section of his organization’s value statement: “Teamwork is crucial to the performance of this company.” Peter was confident that Mehul would find the company abounded with cooperation. Yet it did not. Senior team members, including Peter, were aggressive, even openly hostile towards one another.  

Mehul shared that despite the corporate rhetoric of cooperation and teamwork, unwritten rules encouraged people to outshine everyone around them. Rather than sharing ideas and know-how, people hoarded knowledge and worked with others as little as possible. Within weeks of joining the company, new hires learned to talk about cooperation while acting competitively. Yes, there was a gap between the rhetoric of creative cooperation and the reality of unproductive competition.  

How can one close this gap?  

If you want to be benefited in the long run, you need to adopt the spirit of cooperation and collaboration. A true and successful entrepreneur is the one who first thinks of benefits to others. The customer will bring benefits to you if you earn for the customer first. So develop a spirit of cooperation. If there will be mutual cooperation or collaboration, the business will get the new glow. One needs to maintain long-term relationships to be successful in the long run. Short term & selfish relationships cannot fetch the long-term success. “Let’s go together” is the attitude which will enable all players to survive and sustain in the long run.  

A win-win attitude should be encouraged in organizations. Employees who cooperate with others and strive for mutual accomplishment should be encouraged because a win-win attitude leads to a favourable result for all involved parties and subsequently ensures that none of the employees hold grudges against another.  

Cooperation is important to me. I have witnessed the synergy of one plus one equaling three- when we band together and work cooperatively, we are smarter and stronger. Author Ralph Charell said, “It is through cooperation, rather than conflict, that your greatest successes will be derived”.  

Author Ralph Charell said, “It is through cooperation, rather than conflict, that your greatest successes will be derived.”

So, let’s cooperate with each other and move together, raising each other’s bars…

(Originally published on LinkedIn by Bhavesh Upadhyay)

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