Monthly Archives: December 2017

Open Book Management: Now is the Time!

By Melanie Reid Co-ops continue to face an increasingly tough marketplace. Competition for employees is as tough as it is for food dollars. One strategy for attracting and retaining talented and passionate staff members is to build a culture of strong employee engagement. Open Book Management (OBM) has the potential to contribute to higher staff satisfaction, improved engagement, increased accountability, and strong communication. Inviting staff [...]

Autonomy and Independence: What’s Up with Principle Four?

By Ben Sandel Cooperative principle four: Autonomy and independence. What do you think about it? Or perhaps a better question is—do you ever think about it? In my consulting practice, I sometimes lead activities designed to get people thinking and talking about cooperative values and principles. I’d never accuse my clients of having forgotten a cooperative principle, but based on the lack of interest, perhaps principle [...]

Bridging the Gap. Interim General Management

Like any business, cooperatives need capable management at all times. Emergency management succession planning is essential but despite this planning, sometimes a co-op finds itself in need of a steady experienced hand to manage the co-op during a GM transition. Interim General Managers (IGMs) provide stable and competent management allowing the board of directors to focus on hiring. Here are some steps and things [...]

Choosing Your Words

By Carolee Colter & Mark Mulcahy Intentions matter but so does your choice of words. Certain words can trigger a negative reaction in the mind of the receiver while other words can open up hearts and minds. In general, negative language is demanding and blaming, and emphasizes what can’t be done. Positive language on the other hand focuses on the future, offers choices and [...]

Starting the Conversation: What Does It Take to Achieve Organizational Racial Equity

If you were to ask, most people would say that they are against racism and intolerance. Yet our society has imposed many powerful economic and social barriers to those from disenfranchised racial and economic backgrounds. Most people live in separate spheres and have limited interactions with different races and classes. For nearly a generation, food co-ops have attracted mostly white, educated and affluent people. [...]

Leading Co-op Operations with an Equity Lens

Durham Co-op Market Durham, NC Year founded: 2015 Number of members: 4,000 Member investment: $100 Number of employees: 50 Retail square feet: 8,000 The startup vision for Durham Co-op Market in Durham, NC was to be a very inclusive organization, one that would be an integral part of the community in which it was located. It was important to the founding members that all [...]

Everyone Welcome? Examining Race and Food Co-ops

By Patricia Cumbie, Jade Barker "The questions which one asks oneself begin, at least, to illuminate the world, and become one’s key to the experience of others."—James A. Baldwin Part of our professional work is to support people acting together for a common purpose. We do this by working with co-ops to improve their relationships with all their stakeholders—owners, staff, board, managers, communities—to better [...]

Cooperative Business Law Basics: A Primer on Organizational Structure and Capitalization Options

By Thane Joyal, Dave Swanson Change in the market, change in the world, can mean stress in the relationships within a cooperative as the organization adapts to the changing circumstances. Both having the right organizational structure and choosing the right vehicles to capitalize your co-op are important in making your cooperative responsive and resilient in the face of change. But their technical and legal [...]