Graphic with the words "IG co-op corner" on a teal background. there are icons overlaid on top of the text.

As of June, The Improve Group has officially been a co-op for 10 months! Over this time, our team has been adapting and learning as many of us transition to our new roles as worker-owners. Lots of exciting things have been happening over the past few months:

With the help of the team at Collectivity, our co-op board and management team gathered for a participatory workshop on decision-making. In our new roles, we wanted to add clarity and be explicit about how decisions get made across the organization. As a Teal organization (read more here), we are dedicated to practicing shared leadership and ensuring people most affected have the power to make decisions about something. We discussed how some decisions have higher importance and are critical to bring to our board or to our full group of worker-owners before moving forward. This workshop provided some initial clarity on decision-making, and we are now engaging our full team of worker-owners to get feedback and make adjustments before we formalize an official decision-making structure.

Worker-owners convened for our first-ever General Assembly! General Assemblies are bi-annual meetings of all worker-owners. We formally share updates on the state of our co-op, discuss important topics, learn new things, get feedback, and vote on any important decisions. Since this was our first General Assembly, and our team is still adapting to their new roles, we spent time processing the change in mindset from workers to owners, such as defining rights we have and the responsibilities that are tied to them. For example, one right is an equal vote for important decisions, which is tied to the responsibility to understand the information necessary to have an informed vote.

Our team spoke with organizations that are also considering transitioning to a co-op. This has been an opportunity to share what our experience has been like and hear from team members at other organizations that share excitement and the natural anxieties of making a big change. We love this opportunity to build relationships with like-minded organizations.

It’s been an exciting transition, and we are thrilled to have some of these formal co-op duty experiences under our belts. A big lesson learned so far? Truly operating as a co-op is not as simple as flipping a switch.  As we have said before, we anticipate this change to be mostly behind-the-scenes, and that our work with partners and clients will not feel any different. Behind the scenes, we are holding space to listen, learn, and talk through what needs to change—and what doesn’t—to embody cooperative ownership. This place of discomfort can be hard, but we know it is a sign that we are making a big change the right way.