Jean-Michel Cornu : Cooperation in 28 keywords

8. Tasks of coordination and incoherence

JM Cornu - La Coopération en 28 mots-clés - 8. Tâches de coordination et incohérence

Fourth aspect - depending on people, in facets and in the different aspects of the group, of what is happening in it and after the aspect of convergence, involvement and awareness – is the aspect of coordination. Coordination means plenty of things. That is where you set goals for the group, you highlight it, you show the group to the group, how to ease involvement... And what is interesting is the diversity of it. Some things are done by the community manager, some by the group, it depends. It's not always an absolute choice, because it depends on the group's maturity. For example setting goals is the first thing that the group can do by himself when gaining becomes matury. But at the beginning, if you gather people telling them : “ I propose that we get together but I have no idea what we are going to do together, you might find it difficult to set a group”.
This means that in the beginning , things are a little bit more centralized, and then after get more decentralized. But above all, in all these tasks you have tasks of coordinating people, of coordinating the group as an entity or tasks of coordinating the environment. So tasks of coordinating people can maybe ease involvement, favor convergence, show the group to itself, show what is done altogether, etc. Very often, intentions of doing this or that are numerous. The problem is that you absolutly want people to do that and that is not cooperation. Cooperation is not imposing your idea to everyone, otherwise, if you manage this, it would not be a collaborative group : first, it would be a dictature, and secondly the group would stay at your level of intelligence rather than being a collective intelligence. Well, it's a failure. So instead of being “intentional” you will need to be “attentive”, i.e. : “what are the opportunities with regard to all the propositions in the group ? ». So, instead of having, a priori, plenty of intentions in the group, you will try, post factum to define attentions.

Second aspect,on the contrary related to the group, is the size, as seen before, or else culture, etc. There you'd better have good intentions, to know exactly how the structure of your group is going to ease the different process. So for goals, they can hail from people, but we saw that with the size of the group, it's easier with a group of 100 than with a group of 50. So it can be a choice.
Same with environment, you don't modify it completely, so as environment does not depend on you, like people, it won't be previously intentional but attentive, post factum and then you will have to try to grasp opportunities in order to highlight what may occur. If you only tell yourself : “Well, I am just going top enhance what happened, I email everything and we'll see” : well, no. You might come across other groups with which you'll have opportunities to build partnerships that will highlight all that. It belongs to you to get these opportunities, to you to be attentive. So we very well see that coordination means attention and intention. Too often, we think that it's a previous intention but here, we need to be very attentive quite constantly, particularly with people and the rest of the environment, to find the best opportunities.

I would like to say also that in my opinion it must be awesome to coordinate if things are incoherent. Very well, but a difficulty remains because we are in a complex system which is consequently not totally complete, not totally coherent, which can't be all that simultaneously. To get my point, let's imagine a system that would not be complex (i.e. with loads of people : 3, 4, 10 or 100 persons) but just simplistic, because the contrary of complex is not simple but simplistic. You will have two sides, it's very interesting. Imagine your system is not complete : who will decide what is happening for the leader? If the leader does, then it's not complete. And third thing concerning coherence : it happens that in some case, as we can't get the three simultaneously, it's better even if completely against our culture to drop coherence. I'll give you an example, given to me by Michel Serre and that I find particularly interesting : it's a boat, and in a boat there are constrainsts : “the boat must not drown”, and opportunities : “we are on the sea and we must get along by ourselves”. Imagine that you do something completely forbidden but that thanks to that you save the boat from drowning. If ever I don't reward you, you won't do it the next day and the boat will drown. If I don't punish you, everyone will start doing anything and the boat will drown too. In consequence, I must do something completely incredible and that is to reward and punish you so that the boat can keep sailing. On a boat you don' t have one but two captains : the Chief Officer and you. One rewards, the other punishes and thanks to that you'll be able to reward and seize opportunities, to promote things and punish at the same time. In fact you find this system even in business, with a chief and a deputy-chief. Sometimes the chief reserves the right to give bonus and the deputy-chief, on the contrary, says : “No, no, you're wrong”. And this way of managing incoherence rather correctly enables to manage a complex system. If you refuse, if you want everything to be coherent, you will get a completely coherent system but it will be dead and completely uncollaborative. So this means that with collaboration, things have to be coordonated very carefully - and not only intentionally – and with a dash of incoherence. And this is where the art of the community manager lays, what makes him an artist, a little bandmaster.