How to foster cooperation in my company?

I spoke with entrepreneurs, CEOs of small and medium companies. They all face difficulties with fostering cooperation within their company after a certain time or when they add up more and more employees to their organizations. Usually, we consider that people will cooperate because they are working for the same company. Is it really the case? No.

The reality we all face in small, medium and big companies is that cooperation does not happen on its own. It has to be purposefully planned at the early stages of the company existence. Otherwise, cooperation will not always happen and silos, politics and conflict will be leading the company life. As a CEO or team leader you want people to work hand in hand with empathy.  So that the service and product you deliver to your customers are the best your company could ever possibly produce. It won't happen on its own!

What should you do to ensure that cooperation will be fostered in your company? Here are few suggestions on how you could do it.


  1. Clear Why 

People cooperate when they understand the reasons why they are supposed to work together. This is especially important when their roles or tasks may have opposite short term goals. The Research & Development Director will want to spend when the financial director will aim for the least expenses to keep the company in the positive. Which means that a conflict will for sure appear unless they both know that they want to create the future of transportation. Plus, conflict can be resolved by using the non-violent communication.

 I really love the video from Simon Sinek about "Starting with the Why". It will help you understand its importance and start to define yours. 

2. Clear roles and tasks

Employees who know what is expected from them and who can self-evaluate their performance in order to improve them are more engaged that those who do not. It is important as a CEO to define roles and tasks because it will help you for the following:
  1. Determine who does what and why (qualification)
  2. Identify tasks that have no one to perform them (reduce conflict potential) 
  3. Simplify hiring new employees based on the kind of soft and hard skills required to perform them 
  4. redistribute roles when the workload when it is unbalanced



3. Clear responsibilities and interdependence 

Employees who know with whom they are supposed to speak when they face a specific problem are less stressed out than those who know. Help you employees understand others responsibilities and the interdependence from the beginning on. You may say "We are just 4 in the company we can speak to each other" to which I reply : "It it really clear and what if in one year you were 50, then 100 then 1000 employees?"

 You need a system to facilitate exchanges between people who have the knowledge and those who need it. You may end up having 2 teams working on similar projects without them knowing it which is a waste of time and resources. Plus, they may be much more efficient if they were working together or simply focussing on different projects. 

4. Clear conflict resolution

Even with all precautions on earth. You will never be able to anticipate roles and responsibilities conflict. This is the reason why you should offer a conflict resolution process. I would encourage you to look at non violent communication as an option for your company. Your employees should know that if there is a conflict there is a way to solve it and someone (you) anticipated the situation. This will have the effect to reassure employees. 

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