So evolution has long been thought down to Mutation and Selection. Yet now a third strand is proposed. It’s Co-operation. What’s it all about, and how can it help those that sell?
At first it appears diametrically opposed to the view that competition somehow plays an integral part. Those making this case for a third basic principle of evolution state;
“The result is the discovery of five basic mechanisms of co-operation:
direct reciprocity (you scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours)
indirect reciprocity (the power of reputation)
spatial games (the idea that it pays to be nicer to those who live closer to you)
group selection (the power of the tribe)
kin selection (we help our relatives because blood is thicker than water).”
Fans of Deming style co-operative win-win systems will quickly latch on to such an idea that competition alone is not the answer.
This is a concept much maligned. In my opinion this is undue criticism and normally borne of misinterpretation. Working together and competitive instincts are not opposing forces.
The type of “co-operation” that works is one that breaks down barriers, removes the walls around silos and truly enables two parties to see things from the other’s point of view in a way that engenders genuine progress.
This does not mean a Marxist style elimination of innovation, incentive or improvement.
I mention this because upon reading the above article I was perplexed by remembering how the unwillingness to even contemplate this kind of co-operation was so destructive in key projects I have once or twice been involved with.
In one sense, such ‘co-operation’ is all about ‘alignment’. When you and your production, delivery or even marketing ‘colleagues’ have visions, goals or agendas that are un-aligned, what tends to happen? Not only do you suffer, but so does everyone. The same goes for when you and your customer are on different pages too.
How can it be moulded into a beneficial idea for sellers?
The authors also offer tantalising glimpses that light this path to prosperity from this approach that apply neatly to Sales.
These include seek out other co-operators and grow your contacts.
Finally, and perhaps most critically for aspirant sales chief execs, they also advise creating ways in which those around you can co-operate. In short, within your sales arena how can you become a “SuperCooperator“?