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  • Writer's pictureL. Darryl Armstrong

Collaborate or Cooperate?

So, one of my clients has just sent a request to several of his colleagues proposing some unique ideas that can be mutually beneficial to both parties, perhaps.

I often explain to my clients that there is a difference, in my mind at least, between asking someone to cooperate with you and asking someone to collaborate.

Cooperation typically is when the other party will agree to at least play nicey-nicey. We see cooperation all the time on the playground when kids play in the same sandbox yet stay to themselves. They are cooperating by not interfering with each other’s play activity.

However, collaboration means to co-labor. Co-laboring with another party can be difficult at times because both parties have to agree to stay at the table, roll up their sleeves and work toward a mutually beneficial solution to a problem.

Co-laboring is often time consuming, frustrating and complicated by the needs, wants and desires of the parties at the table yet when an agreement is reached it is typically in the best interest of all parties. Co-laboring is when the 3-year old and the 5-year old build the magnificent sand castle at the beach and together are proud of their achievement!

My client will have to give some, the co-labors will give some and ultimately the outcome of the often elongated discussions and negotiations will result in a win-win for everyone.

Collaborating needs to be done more often in Congress!

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