Any complex eadeavour involving more than one person requires cooperation. Military forces are trained to cooperate right from the beginning. As recruits go through ‘boot camp’ they are taught the importance of cooperating and coordinating their actions with their ‘buddies.’ Units at all levels of complexity and strength train regularly with other units of the same and different types and of all sizes so they can work as a well oiled machine. This avoids needless friction and other forms of confusion, and also generates greater combat power through what is known as all arms tactics.

Here are the key questions to ask in order to generate greater cooperation:

  • What are you trying to achieve?
  • What needs to happen to achieve it?
  • What can you or must you do yourself?
  • What can or must be done by someone else?
  • What are your particular strengths and weaknesses?
  • What are the particular strengths and weaknesses of your collaborators?
  • What can be delegated to subordinates or peers?
  • What mechanisms must be in place to ensure optimal coordination and collaboration?

This is certainly not an exhaustive list, but it is a good starting point nonetheless for reflecting on the actions you can take to increase your levels of cooperation, collaboration, and performance.

© 2012 Richard Martin. Reproduction and quotes permitted with full and proper attribution.

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