If you’re joining a worker cooperative for the first time, building business skills is about a lot more than understanding balance sheets, profit margins, and your market. Certainly, these skills are important, and remain crucial for worker-owners to understand. Yet as new members join a co-op and move towards worker-ownership, it is also critical to build self-confidence, creativity, interpersonal skills, problem solving techniques, and a sense of ownership.
In a cooperative, it’s not just about how to run a business: it’s about how to run a business together.
Every worker cooperative should strive to build all of the above skills in unison, weaving together soft and hard skills with a focus on engagement, participant needs, and cultural context.
Just recently, we were able to help a New York City-based cooperative realize this goal.