Cooperating with others
What does co-operating with others entail?
- Entrepreneurship: A big word, meaning that you are willing to dream, get planning, and implement what you set out to undertake.
- Entrepreneurship as a team: As above, but you need to get a core team of people together. These may include people you already know and possibly worked with in the past. Or it may include people who are team players willing to share your dream. Make sure you get the right people on board. As the Maltese law stands today, you need a minimum of five persons to form the co-operative society.
- Passion: It’s not easy going – nothing worthwhile having is. You will need to convince and keep the team’s energy levels high. The road may be bumpy, but the rewards will be worth it if you get the details right.
- It’s not the ‘I’, but the ‘us’: A co-operative is not a one-person band with others who follow. It’s team, team, team.
- Co-operative Knowledge: You will need some knowledge about the co-operative model – not only you, but all the members. You will need to discuss how you can make co-operative principles work for you all. This process should be ongoing.
- Talk to the Experts: Get a person in the know, someone who has the relevant experience, to help you. It’s important that you talk to persons who know the ropes – they know co-operatives because they live them. The Malta Co-operative Federation can really help you out here by providing you with experts in this field.
- Time and effort: Be prepared to dedicate a lot of effort and time. It takes a lot of energy. You’re about to step into a market that demands the efforts of all the team members.
- Perseverance: You will need to be prepared to persist. People are different and therefore working effectively as a team is not easy. Effective teams are not built in a day. However, you are in this for the long haul, and it takes time to make it tick.
- Learn from your failures: Be prepared to fail before you succeed – This is a learning process. Learn from your failures. It’s not how often you falter that counts but the number of times you learn from your mistakes, stand up again, stronger than before, ready to face another challenge.
- Sharpen your communication skills: You will need to communicate continuously as a team. It’s not just sharpening the way you talk, but you also need to develop your all-too-vital listening skills. Learn how to better conduct meetings – meetings will be part of your life in the co-op, whether they are between the team, or on a one-to-one basis. You need to learn to get the most of structured, effective and positive meetings that really make a difference.
- Dream on: Follow your collective dream – always keep sight of your dream as a team. Be prepared to amend and revisit here and there, but you need to hold on to the common vision and the energy to make your dream a reality.