Anyone who has studied strategy is familiar with Michael Porter’s 5 Forces of Competition. It is part of every Strategic Management Book and is the foundation of many strategic plans. Organizations spend a great deal of time analyzing their competition and devising ways to counteract the forces. I dare say individuals likewise exert a fair amount of energy engaged in competitive analysis as well(in terms of relationships, economic status, physical appearance, etc…).
What would our organizations and our lives look like if instead we analyzed what I am referring to as the 5 forces of Cooperation? We embrace the inherent value in cooperation in our family units and in our small tribes of friends. However, something tends to creep into your interactions and turn them towards competition, especially as the size of the group grows. This more often than not is manifested in unhealthy competition. We view the world as a fixed pie. We view life from a scarcity mentality. We look at our interactions as either winning or losing.
What I am proposing is we flip this paradigm and begin to explore the benefits of cooperation. For an organization, I would like to propose examining 5 forces of cooperation (patterned specifically on the original 5 forces of competition).
The five forces of cooperation are:
1. Partnering with suppliers/vendors to create mutually beneficial relationships
2. Welcoming new entrants to the industry to expand opportunities and introduce new innovative ideas.
3. Collaboration with other companies in our industry to share best practices, to share resources, and create solutions to challenges that transcend individual organizational boundaries.
4. Learning from and encouraging substitute products and services to better serve our planet and meet human’s needs more deeply and more sustainably.
5. Partnering with our customers – truly embracing them as someone we serve.
The 5 forces of cooperation is all about co-creating a better, more life-giving, compassionate, and sustainable existence. This can happen in our family units, in our workplaces, and in our communities. Today’s challenges demand we interact differently. We sit at a crossroads in our journey as a species, where we can either move towards making this a better planet for everyone or destroying it. The time has past where there can be winners and losers. The consequences are interdependent and we all have a shared destiny. We are presented with the technology to improve living conditions globally and with a positive, long-term impact.
Comparison is the Thief of Joy and I would expand this to include the notion that Competition is the thief of joy as well.
What areas in your life and in your organization can you cooperate more ? Have you been holding onto unhealthy elements of competition in your relationships and interactions that are dysfunctional? What habits of cooperation are available for you and your organization to embrace?
If you find yourself pondering similar questions, connect with me here or find me on LinkedIn. I would love to explore how you and or your organization can experience life to the fullest and engage in positive, transformative change.