On a recent co-op day, we spent some time talking about what we value. Using a technique called “Even/Overs”, we had a chat about the things we prioritise in our work and how that aligns with our values.
“An even over statement is a phrase containing two positive things, where the former is prioritised over the latter.” Even over statements: The prioritization tool that brings your strategy to life
In case you missed it, WAO is a cooperative that adheres to the International Cooperative Alliance’s 7 principles that help cooperatives put the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity, and solidarity into practice. Additionally (and conveniently), “in the tradition of [our] founders, [we] believe in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others.”
This post brings together our cooperative and ethical values, with conflicting priorities we often see in our projects.
Our co-op is a place where everyone is welcome, and we value supporting one another even over supporting clients, showcasing the importance of our internal community. We work together to ensure our client and project needs are covered, but we work in a way that allows us to create space for each other should we need to.
We value the voices and contributions of all our members and our collaborators too. As such, we value work/life balance even over profit/surplus, acknowledging that our members' well-being is paramount. We value each other even over our best work, emphasising the importance of our collective over individual achievement. We voted on all of this.
We believe that economic participation should prioritise long-term sustainability and impact. We value sustainability of the co-op over short-term profit, and we value impact even over recognition, emphasising our focus on substantive change over superficial measures of success. We decide together how our capital, social or otherwise, is best spent.