How can we succeed without competition?
The revolutionary thing about the Prosocial model is that by focusing on collaboration within and between groups, we actually achieve an evolutionary advantage. In fact, we would not be here if it were not for our cooperative ancestors. Remember what Wilson said, “Teamwork is baked into the genetic architecture of our minds.”
Also, remember the Super Chicken study, if we are looking solely through a competitive lens, the cooperative chickens were the winners by far. They produced the most eggs and also, did not peck each other to death! The paradox of the Prosocial model is that, by moving our focus from competition to collaboration, we actually gain an evolutionary advantage.
Collaboration acknowledges our Oneness
Have you ever felt that you were “in the flow” while working with others on a team? Maybe you were on a sports team or maybe you were at work. Regardless of where you were, the reason collaboration like this feels so good is because it acknowledges a deep and fundamental truth: we are already one. As Fr. Richard Rohr so eloquently states, “Oneness is less a goal toward which life is pressing, as it is a return to the truth in which we have always been held.”
It is up to us to live into the integrity of this truth by choosing collaboration in every aspect of our lives, and in the groups and communities to which we belong.
“Oneness is less a goal toward which life is pressing, as it is a return to the truth in which we have always been held.”
– Fr. Richard Rohr
How can we get started using this model of emphasize collaboration in our own groups?
Whether you are part of a Homeowners Association or running the department of a large company you can begin to implement the Prosocial model by looking at your group through the 8 Core Design Principles or CDPs. Below are the 8 CDPs with corresponding questions we can ask right now about the groups in which we participate:
1. Strong group identity and understanding of purpose
Question: Do we agree on the shared purpose of our group? Do we get excited when we talk about it?
2. Fair distribution of costs and benefits:
Question: Are we all pulling our weight? And when our group succeeds do we all see the benefits?
3. Fair & inclusive decision making:
Question: Do others feel left out of decision making? Have we even asked them?
4. Monitoring agreed upon behaviors
Question: What reporting, benchmarks or other systems have we put in place to ensure we are all doing what we have agreed upon?
5. Graduated sanctions for misbehavior:
Question: What incremental consequences are in place to ensure that our actions match our words?
6. Fast & fair conflict resolution
Question: In healthy groups conflict happens because candor is safe. When conflict does arise what formats or ground rules do we follow to ensure that they are resolved quickly and that we all remain friends?
7. Authority to self-govern
Question: Are we able to govern ourselves without undue interference from a larger organization?
8. Appropriate relations with other groups
Question: Even if we get along within our group, how well do we get along with other groups?
Even if you only answer a few of these questions within your group, you will have taken meaningful steps toward building cooperation into the culture of your team. If you are interested in learning more about the Core Design Principles and how they can help us steer evolution in positive ways we hope you will join us as we welcome David Sloan Wilson at our next McPhee Lecture and Workshop series. We hope to see you there!
2019 McPhee Lecture & Workshop