Teams can provide structures for applying diverse abilities to solve problems. This study suggests that cooperative, in contrast to competitive and independent, goals promote team members' applying their abilities for mutual benefit, which in turn facilitates team performance. Two hundred employees in 100 work teams in China completed measures of their team's cooperative, competitive, and independent goals and their applying abilities; 100 managers indicated the teams' in-role and extra-role (organizational citizenship behavior) performance. Structural equation analysis suggested that cooperative but not competitive or independent goals promote applying abilities, which in turn results in team performance. These results, coupled with previous research, were interpreted as suggesting that cooperative goals and applying abilities are complementary foundations for effective teamwork.