Tools of Cooperation

The Tools of Cooperation provide a way to understand how to get people to voluntarily coordinate their actions in accomplishing desired outcomes. We have seen that some leaders have an intuitive grasp of this, but recognize that choosing the right tool for the right situation can be learned quite easily.

Tools of Cooperation

To know which tool to use—incentives? standard operating procedures? consensus? negotiation?—we begin by framing what’s at issue and assessing the pre-existing degree of agreement on that specific matter.

For instance, imagine that a software product manager wants to meet a rapidly approaching deadline to ship a product, but the developers see a privacy issue and are pushing back. We frame the issue: the product should be shipped on time. We assess, using a couple of dimensions of pre-existing agreement, to what extent developers and management agree on shipping on time in this particular case. Based on that assessment—and some other simple tips and tricks—the manager can choose the right tool to create a cooperative effort to resolve the issue.

The Tools of Cooperation have many applications, including how to resolve what seem like intractable disagreements or getting customers to “pull the trigger” and purchase. Crucially, by understanding this framework you can select the right tool for the right job.

The design of this lens was influenced by:

The Tools of Cooperation lens is introduced as part of our live, online Innovation Science Bootcamp.

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