The words cooperation and collaboration are often used interchangeably – despite being two different acts that yield different results.

“Cooperation is an instance of people working together,” said Bernadette Johnson, a leadership consultant and author. “Collaboration involves coming together to share our collective knowledge, experience and creativity. In doing so, we end up with something beyond what we would have achieved individually.”

What’s more, collaboration can result in increased diversity of thought, efficiency and effectiveness. It can also mean more accountability among team members.

“If everyone has skin in the game, we’re going to share the responsibility,” Johnson said. “We’re going to claim it if it fails, and we’re going to share it if it succeeds.”

That said – as many professionals know – collaboration can be easier said than done. For situations where you feel like playing the lone ranger, Johnson recommends employing the following strategies:

  •  Openness is key to a thriving collaborative relationship. Being candid with each other as well as being receptive to new ideas and information.
  • Set clear mutual goals that all parties can contribute to and all will benefit from reaching the goal.
  • View resources as instruments of action – not possessions. Effective collaborating calls for departments to consider what’s best for the organization overall, versus their individual team, when making decisions about how to use talent, finances and other resources.

Johnson will cover these tactics and more during her upcoming training with the Flint & Genesee Chamber, Leading Together: Moving from Cooperation to Collaboration.

For more information about the workshop, which will be held from 8:30-10 a.m. on Thursday, July 20 at Brick Street of Grand Blanc, click here.

To learn about other upcoming personal and professional development opportunities, visit