‘Now take it from me, I’ve been to a conference or two in my time, and this event really was up there. Perhaps it was because we were all co-ops? Perhaps it was because it was the first time we’d done it? Perhaps it was because everyone there was super lovely and committed? (This was definitely the case). Whatever it was, it worked.
As co-ops, we abide by the 7 Cooperative Principles. I won’t go into all of them here, but the two that we lived out at the retreat were:
5. Education, Training and Information
6. Co-operation among Co-operatives
There were long discussions deep into the night about soul-searching topics like pay, fairness, and how to deal with conflict at work. All things that matter enormously to co-ops who are socially orientated both in terms of clients and workers.
One of the things I particularly enjoyed was the open and practical skill sharing that went on among co-ops, masterfully facilitated by Seeds for Change. All of the co-ops at the retreat were viable businesses, and many of us face similar challenges. Some of these challenges are particular to us as co-ops, while others are challenges faced by all organisations, whatever their constitution.