Develop Your Leaders

Inclusion: Starting from the Store

You can't have a conversation about inclusion without first expanding the circle and inviting everyone to the table. Prasanna Regmi, General Manager at Davis Food Co-op in Davis, CA talks about the work being done at Davis starting with the core of the co-op network, the store.

What ‘Everyone Welcome’ Means

The closing of a nearby neighborhood grocer presented what could have been a great sales boost for Whole Foods Co-op in Duluth, MN. But the neighbors weren't beating down the doors of WFD.  Sarah Hanningan, GM, tells the story of what it took to reach out to their neighbors and their communities. Having 'Everyone Welcome' printed on their awning simply wasn't going to be [...]

Is Independence a Barrier to Cooperation?

As a result of the coalescing of the regional Co-op Grocers Associations into National Co+op Grocers GreenTree Co-op was able to undergo a transformational shift in their approach to operations and customer experience. Sarah Christensen, GM at GreenTree in Mt. Pleasant, talks about what she perceives as a barrier to collaboration and true cooperation among cooperations: Independence. Christensen explores what it means to be [...]

Analysis of Board Members’ Conflicts of Interest

It’s very common for conflicts of interest to be present on the board of a retail food co-op. Some even joke that conflict management is at the heart of cooperation. And in a way, it’s true. The legitimacy of a board’s decision depends in large measure on the board’s ability to demonstrate that the decision was made to further the best interests of the [...]

Leaders in Democracy: Seeking Win-Win through Assertive Cooperation

By Art Sherwood 191 July-August 2017 If we created opportunities in meaningful participation by seeking win-win, it would be a game changer—in our relationships, in our customer service, in our strategies, in our partnerships, and in our innovative approaches to solving pressing social problems.  Democracy is hard. And because it is hard, it takes skills and practice and a willingness to work with others. Why [...]

Using Ends to Tell the Story

The author Stephen Covey made “begin with the end in mind” a famous touchstone with his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Beginning with the end in mind is “Habit #2.” Of all the habits he writes about, this one involves the most reflection, pushing the reader to consider whether what they are doing is by design or default. Habit #2 encourages [...]

Marilyn Scholl Recognized for Co-op Leadership

By Dave Gutknecht Her name will be familiar to readers of this magazine—Marilyn Scholl has been a major contributor here for years, as well as the author of valuable food co-op resources such as the Patronage Dividend Primer and the Ownership Toolbox. Her professional leadership and many thoughtful contributions to cooperatives are receiving a deserved and lasting tribute. Marilyn Scholl is to be inducted May 2 into the Cooperative Hall of Fame, a national resource administered by the Cooperative Development Foundation (CDF). For summaries of inductees for this year and past years, see www.heroes.coop. As that page says, the members of this select group [...]

Using Storytelling Techniques for Owner Linkage

Flatbush Food Co-op Brooklyn, New York Year founded: 1976 Number of members: 3,500 Member investment: $200 Number of employees: 70 Retail square footage: 8,000 The Flatbush Food Co-op has been in business as a trusted institution in Brooklyn since the 1970s, yet given the increasing competition, and with expansion a possibility, the co-op’s leadership believed there was more they could do to enhance how [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]