A little give and take part I

The pandemic may have put the strain on trading conditions, but it is those that remain open to cooperation and partnership that are statistically more likely to prosper

“Invoices are left unpaid. Company declares 50% price rise. Contract unilaterally cancelled! Does this sound familiar to you? With the resumption of aviation activities managers will have to figure out how they want to conduct business in the future. During the crisis some decisions were made that cast a shadow on the future relationship between buyer and seller. But what drives us to act in this way? Is it just individual personality? Or does it depend on the company you work for? Let us look at the individual first. As far as cooperation strategies are concerned people fall into four different groups: 1. People who tend to give selflessly – let´s call them the ‘overgenerous’ 2. People who tend to give, but only up to a point – let´s call them the ‘giver’ 3. People who exchange (give and take) – let´s call them the ‘barterer’ 4. People who tend to take – let´s call them the ‘taker’ Each of us falls into one of the four groups when it comes to our behaviour. This is true for the way we cooperate internally with colleagues and the way we treat our customers or suppliers. The ‘over-generous’ is a personality that is prepared to support others even if he/she never gets anything in compensation. For such a person harmony is paramount, with a focus on the interest of the others. These people are well liked in teams, but not really respected. Recent studies show that burn-out rates are high for people with this predisposition. The other extreme is the ‘taker’. He/she supports others only if a valuable compensation is forthcoming. The attitude of such people is mainly profit-oriented, with no regard for other aspects. Personal relationships are not relevant The ‘barterer’ is keen to get his/her efforts compensated. It is not necessary to profit from the exchange, but to incur an outright loss is keenly avoided. If the deal is considered fair, then the deal is done. This is also true in situations of teamwork. But still the ‘barterer’ is mainly motivated by self-interest. Finally, the ‘giver’ is a person that starts interactions similar to the ‘over-generous’ until the point is reached where he/she evaluates if his/her actions are abused or not. If the assessment is that he/she feels abused the support or the cooperation is immediately stopped. If the assessment finds a balance of give and take the cooperation is continued. The ‘giver’ constantly balances self-interest and the interest of the cooperation partners. It might come as a surprise, but academic studies found that ‘givers’ are the most successful people in business life. Statistically it is not the ‘takers’ or the ‘barterers’ who climb the ladders in corporate hierarchies the fastest and the highest. This should give us food for thought. Do we know how our sales teams or our purchasing
departments are composed of? Did we ever think about the best mix of people to get a project done? Is it of importance to us how our managers cooperate? More often than not people have a perception of their cooperation behaviour that is different from reality. Usually people consider themselves as being very cooperative. But there are clever methods to test and challenge this. There are game theoretical applications that can be used to find out how people behave if they are put to the test. If you want to find out how your team ticks, just get into touch with the author of this article. First of all, it is essential to know what kind of game we are talking about. In zero-sum games the motivation to cooperate is limited as my loss is the others gain. A good example of a zero-sum game is chess. But most of the games – or real-life situations – are non zero-sum games. And some real-life situations that first look like winner takes all occasions change, if they are repeated again and again. If you deal more often than once with somebody, a process of building of trust is necessary. And if partners start to support each other a so-called ‘cooperation yield’ can be achieved. But this cooperation yield is at the beginning not always obvious. It takes personalities that are able to recognise that ‘cooperation yields’ can be earned. As an organisation it is paramount that people that have these skills are employed in the right positions within the organisation. Only under these circumstances these yields can be earned. With significantly less money in the aviation industry than before the pandemic, all industry players are well advised, if they strive to earn these ‘cooperation-yields’. If only the ‘takers’ will prevail the future looks bleak. But why are some organisations more prone to have a competitive culture than a cooperation culture? This will be dealt with in the next article.” 

Call Open contact page (no Javascript)