Cooperation vs. Collaboration: A Focalizing Dynamic Links Perspective

Boundaries in geography as well as our relationships are beginning to dissolve as we move into the 21st century and we grow more connected than ever before. While this shift provides a unique opportunity to solve some of our greatest problems, it also presents the challenge to balance thriving individually with surviving collectively.

Successfully navigating this shift requires a transition from a world of cooperation to an experience of collaboration. Certainly the 20th century was marked by a profound increase in our ability to cooperate with one another – across borders, between races and among otherwise adversaries.

While cooperation involves working together, the stakes for each party involved are often different and perhaps not even known by each other. Those cooperating agree to work together so that each other’s needs are served while not working at cross purposes and helping each other as needs arise – maintaining a perspective of us and them. It is guided by the expectation of getting some particular outcome. Cooperation is of the thinking mind, focused on action and not fully able to solve the problems of the 21st century.

The challenges we face today are complex problems that require systems thinking from a whole eco-system perspective. As an example, any solution for sustainable energy requires consideration of environmental, economic, political and social factors to name a few. It is no longer as simple as securing additional sources of energy. We must also consider the implications of those resources and the effect their production will have on the larger world and the future beyond.

Collaboration does that. It operates from the heart and starts with the assumption that everyone is in this together, all sharing a stake in the outcome while working towards a single purpose and shared intention. Those collaborating work jointly to produce or create something that is in the mutual best interest of all, creating a win/win/win situation where the third win is the collective. The focus is on results – something that everyone involved wants to create together.

Collaboration is much more than simply working together; it involves planning, developing, solving and creating collectively where the cross-pollination of the diverse group provides the opportunity to learn from one another as knowledge is shared and problems are solved. There is joint decision-making and no particular hierarchy or structure except as benefits the desired outcome of the collaboration.

In this way, collaboration is what happens when focalizing a Dynamic Link – a human technology for communicating, connecting and relating that brings a conscious intention to the exchange for the good of each person, and for the good of us all. The Dynamic Link is marked by inclusion, unification and is guided by the shared intention of all those in the Link.

Being fully authentic and communicating with honesty and integrity is a hallmark of these Links. There is a strong sense of community with the shared belief of achieving the collectively held intention. The Dynamic Link is based in a mutual respect for self, others and all existing realities. Those in the Link suspend any voices of judgment, doubt or fear as well as attachment to a specific outcome, leaving the possibility for an even better future to emerge so that collaboration through Dynamic Linking presents one means for solving our greatest challenges and creating a better future.