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Last updated on 5/26/23

Adopt the Rules of Cooperation and Collective Intelligence


Cooperation, which is necessary for teamwork, is a state of mind⁠—and also a set of expected behaviors.

1) Share Information

When properly used, collaborative tools have simplified and increased the transparency of information. When team members are responsible for the flow of communication, it can become a competition to be the first to have certain knowledge and thus prevent someone from the information as a way to feel important.

When you start a team project, do you immediately give all the relevant information, or do you wait for people to ask for it, and does that cost you?

Here are some best practices:

  • I keep my manager and/or my fellow team members up to date regularly and spontaneously.

  • I pass on anything that may be useful to someone else, to save them time and avoid possible mistakes.

  • I pass along information at the appropriate time.

  • I make sure that the information is reliable and not out of date.

  • I ensure that it is understandable (KIS: Keep it simple!).

  • I ask myself if I should copy someone else.

  • I ask permission before distributing something that was sent to me personally.

  • When I distribute to a long list, I check it so as not to miss anyone.

  • I pass on good news, to counterbalance bad news.

  • I avoid the habit of giving good news orally and bad news in writing.

  • I don’t waste time and pass along information when it has just come out.

  • I select the information, without truncating it or changing the context.

  • When I am away for more than 24 hours, I save an automated out-of-office message telling people of my absence, my return and, where applicable, the person who is replacing me during this period.

2) Exchange Advice

Consult your coworkers. Ask for other people’s advice and take their answers into account. Thanks to the techniques of empathy, active listening and positive communication, you are more objective, you understand other people’s logic better and you contribute to a better quality of communication.

Take advantage of this to:

  • Ask open questions: “What do you think of it?” rather than “It’s good, isn’t it?”

  • Give and ask for mutually beneficial feedback

  • Make listening a ritual by visiting sites, organizing regular consultations, taking part in quality circles

3) Make Mutual Commitments

The teamwork relationship involves abiding by mutual commitments and, in particular, being reliable in respect to:

  • Times and deadlines

  • The quality of deliverables

You should anticipate difficulties and inform all the fellow team members affected if you think you are not going to be able to keep to your commitments.

4) Stick Together

Solidarity between teammates means:

  • Gradually eliminating one’s “personal gameplay”

  • Showing loyalty

  • Recognizing other people’s value, qualities and differences

  • Investing oneself, feeling involved (while keeping some necessary distance)

  • Assuming the consequences of one’s actions

  • Recognizing one’s errors

The Benefits of Collective Intelligence

Cooperation and the attitudes arising out of it are only one first step. Nowadays, a great deal is expected of teamwork. This is what the concept of “collaborative working” suggests.

It is the idea that the work of a team is more than the sum of the work accomplished by each team member. There is an additional “gain” that is called collective intelligence.

This collective intelligence is then reflected in each team member, to the extent that they adopt the state of mind and collaborative practices.

Here are a few collective intelligence best practices:

1) Deep Learning

Deep learning is distinguished from the superficial learning that comes from repetition. The learner models and implements in a collective setting. Deep learning means:

  • Journaling: Keeping a logbook to note ideas, worries, objectives, successes, difficulties and feelings.

  • Working in pairs: Creating a mutually supportive relationship in order to move each person’s respective project forward and receive regular feedback.

  • Success groups: Taking part in a success group that will support each person’s motivation by sharing energy, information, feedback, networking, etc

2) From Team Building to the Learning Expedition

It’s a work process aimed at:

  • strengthening team cohesion

  • building and sharing values and objectives

  • creating connections between team members

  • getting over a period of conflict

  • creating a common culture during a restructuring/merger

  • integrating newcomers

The objective is to:

  • get the group to have an intense experience outside its usual frame of reference

  • discover other cultures, ways of doing things, of thinking, of life

  • shake up the usual mental patterns

  • open the team to change

  • upon return: draw up new strategies, new modes of being

3) Shadow Meetings, World Café, Open Space Technology

Shadow meetings, World Café and Open Space Technology are collective intelligence meetings.

To hold a shadow meeting, it is necessary to:

  • designate the members of the group

  • formalized a debriefing to go over the lessons learnt

To hold a World Café:

  • The participants meet in a café setting

  • Have tables of 4-5 participants referred to as “Travelers”

  • Discuss for a session of 20-30 minutes

  • Move to another table twice (a total of 3 sessions)

  • Each session creates a display with the key solutions shared by each table

  • The hosts set out the final synthesis and a concluding roundtable

  • Everyone creates a report on the experience they’ve had

In Open Space Technology:

  • Participants circulate between the workshops

  • Reports are written as the exchanges take place

  • The “law of mobility,” which is both physical and mental, states that “If you’re not contributing or learning, move on to another workshop.”

Let's Recap!

  • Cooperation is a state of mind and a set of the following expected behaviors:

    • Sharing information

    • Exchanging advice

    • Making mutual commitments

    • Sticking together

  • Collective intelligence is the idea that the work of a team is more than the sum of the work accomplished by each team member.

Collective intelligence practices are particularly fruitful when they are supported by collaborative tools, which will be discussed in the next chapter!

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