Canadian Co-op Zone’s Co-op Developers Skills Inventory

From the CoopZone Developers’ Network, which strives to "enhance the quality of life in Canada by promoting and supporting the growth and development of co-operatives, through mobilizing co-operative...

From the CoopZone Developers’ Network, which strives to “enhance the quality of life in Canada by promoting and supporting the growth and development of co-operatives, through mobilizing co-operative developers committed to the vision and objectives of the co-operative movement.” 


Co-op Developers Skills Inventory


I.  Skills and Knowledge: A Self-Assessment

The following is the  Skills  Self Assessment  Completed by  Co-op Developers. The Developers  rate themselves using the following scale.


  1. Little or None: Knowledge is not sufficient to be applied without assistance.
  2. Rudimentary: Can perform some parts of this skill satisfactorily but requires some assistance and/or supervision to perform the entire skill.
  3. Basic: Can perform this skill satisfactorily but requires periodic assistance and/or supervision.
  4. Intermediate: Can perform this skill satisfactorily without assistance or supervision.
  5. Advanced: Can perform this skill satisfactorily with more than acceptable speed and quality.
  6. Expert: Can perform this skill satisfactorily with initiative and adaptability to special problem situations.
  7. Expert/Mentor: Can perform this skill satisfactorily and can lead others in performing it.


SECTION 1. Basic Requirements


1.1. Professional Behaviour/Code of Ethics          

  1. Demonstrate Confidentiality   
  2. Demonstrate Professionalism
  3. Demonstrate Positive Attitude


1.2.  Project Management Skills         

  1. Goal setting      
  2. Scheduling and critical path development
  3. Resource and task allocation
  4. Meeting deadlines
  5. Evaluation of projects


1.3.  Communication Skills

  1. Written
  2. Verbal
  3. Consensus development
  4. Goal development


1.4..  Interpersonal Skills

  1. Listening skills
  2. Exploratory questioning skills
  3. Negotiating skills
  4. Deal with resistance and manage conflict
  5. Interpret and apply non-verbal communications                 
  6. Interpret and apply verbal communications


1.5.  Effective Client Counseling

  1. Apply interviewing techniques 
  2. Assist client to conduct a situational analysis     
  3. Assist client to develop action plan           
  4. Recognize personal limitations and/or need to refer client to others for assistance


1.6.  Knowledge Networks

  1. Maintain awareness of socio-economic climate / environmental scan
  2. Develop and maintain inventory of resources
  3. Develop and maintain network of expertise and support
  4. Source financing
  5. Develop awareness of government and legal regulations
  6. Develop network and brokering skills
  7. Advocate for client


1.7.  Information Technology

  1. Word Processing
  2. Spreadsheets
  3. Electronic communications
  4. Internet searching
  5. Web site development


SECTION 2. Co-operative Knowledge and Experience


2.1.  Co-operative Principles and Enterprise Types

  1. Knowledge of co-operatives’ key characteristics
  2. Knowledge of co-op principles
  3. Knowledge of the forms of employee or independent contractor organisations, and applicability to  various types of co-ops
  4. Knowledge of EI regulations applied to co-operatives
  5. Knowledge of other forms of business organisations (partnerships, business corporations, etc.), and how they differ from the co-op model
  6. Knowledge of co-op advantages relative to the alternative business models
  7. Knowledge of the multi-tiered structure of the Canadian co-operative movement


2.2.  By-laws and Governance Processes


Please identify the jurisdiction(s) of your knowledge:  provinces, territories, or federal level:


  1. Knowledge of co-op law
  2. Knowledge of bylaw drafting
  3. Knowledge of options for participatory democracy
  4. Knowledge of different roles of members, board, management
  5. Conflict resolution skills
  6. Role of policies and approaches for policy development


SECTION 3. Groups Development and Facilitation


3.1.  Group Assessment Skills (initial meetings)

  1. Identify leadership
  2. Determine whether there is a common objective
  3. Determine whether there is a match between each individuals’ personal needs and the group’s objective
  4. Determine whether the group can take responsibility for project
  5. Determine what level of understanding the group has regarding business, group process and the social, economic, regulatory environment
  6. Determine what financial resources are available


3.2.  Leadership and Motivation Skills

  1. Empower individuals and group
  2. Build individual and group confidence
  3. Help to create a positive attitude
  4. Identify personal and group goals
  5. Point towards practical and realistic approaches to achieving goals


3.3.  Training Skills

  1. Knowledge of adult education principles
  2. Facilitation skills
  3. Practical training experience
  4. Experience in developing training materials


SECTION 4. Business Development


4.1.  Business Evaluation Skills

  1. Market research
  2. Market analysis
  3. Strategic market planning
  4. Break-even analysis
  5. SWOT analysis
  6. Identifying members’ goals (and minimum financial needs, in the case of a worker co-op)
  7. Risk/benefit analysis


4.2.  Business Planning Skills

  1. Understand the uses of business plans
  2. Knowledge of the appropriate format of business plans
  3. Knowledge of the proper presentation of financial information
  4. Knowledge of the factors which need to be considered and how calculated for cash flow
  5. Knowledge of how cash flow relates to viability and minimum required net income


4.3.  Knowledge of Business Financing

  1. Knowledge of types of financing: sweat equity, common shares, debt, etc.
  2. Knowledge of sources of financing
  3. Knowledge and use of self-directed RRSP program for worker co-op financing
  4. Knowledge of government funding programs
  5. Developing an offering statement
  6. Raising capital


4.4.  Accounting Knowledge

  1. Understand the need for and requirements of an accounting system
  2. Knowledge of the GAAP as they apply to presenting co-operative financial statements
  3. Knowledge of bookkeeping procedures
  4. Knowledge of issues regarding worker bonuses and patronage dividends
  5. Knowledge of taxation issues
  6. Audit preparation


4.5.  Diagnostic and Problem-Solving Skills

  1. Demonstrate problem solving approaches
  2. Recognize stages of business development process and implications
  3. Perform site observation visits
  4. Diagnose client business problems
  5. Address emerging opportunities and potential problems




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