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Cooperative Capitalism 102 | God Intersections

In my previous post I talked about the basics of Cooperative Capitalistic Communities.  These include regular participation in a group with the following characteristics:

  1. Focus on growing your businesses and helping other’s grow theirs
  2. Willingness to practice  transparency
  3. Willingness to engage the Business Purpose and Vision of the Community
  4. Willingness to abide by a consistent set of Community Organizational Principles
  5. Interest in developing and living in a Community of Trust.

The foundational thought of Cooperative Capitalism is collaboration.  I don’t think I have ever met anyone who said they were AGAINST collaboration.  But when we actually sit down and give it a wing it rarely works out.  Why is that?  I believe there are at least 4 difficulties in effective collaboration:

  1. Lack of agreement on the ground rules for the Community – I call them Operational Principles.  They are the Purpose, Vision, Core Values, Senior Organizing Goal, Roles and Principles of Behavior for ALL Community members.  Discuss them, haggle over them BUT gain concurrence.  Then have EVERYONE sign the Operational Principles document
  2. Engaging too many businesses up front.  Start with a minimum of 3 but no more than 5 businesses in the original group.  Too many cooks in the kitchen means you struggle to find consensus and an even more difficult time enforcing it
  3. Good intentions, poor execution.  We love to talk about collaborating but we rarely lay out clear actions, responsible parties and due dates for Community work
  4. Unwillingness to have the difficult conversations. Due to the lack of a hierarchical leader of the Community, resolving the day to day disputes that arise requires Community members to regularly have tough conversations.  And to have them in an encouraging manner.  My experience is that having these types of conversations regularly is almost impossible for the vast majority of people.

The most effective way to overcome these challenges is to engage an impartial third party to guide and facilitate the process.  Someone whose belly button is not engaged in the decisions or outcomes of the Community.  This facilitator can obviously help set up items 1, 2 and 3 above but that is NOT their real value.  The real value lies in the moderation of the regular gatherings of the Community.  The purpose of these gatherings is to:

  1. Review the quality and timeliness of the tasks assigned to Community members
  2. Determine new tasks that need assigning based on new business the Community has closed
  3. Work through the “disconnects” that have occurred since the last meeting.  Balls that have been dropped, innuendo among members, behavior that doesn’t fit the Core Values or Purpose etc.

We recommend these meetings occur twice a month – once face to face and once over the internet.  If done effectively over time we have the start of a REAL Cooperative Capitalistic Community.

Be patient.  Trust takes time.

More later…..

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