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18th Mar, 2018

Leaders in Democracy: Seeking Win-Win through Assertive Cooperation

By |2019-09-07T02:06:32-04:00March 18th, 2018|

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 [...]

6th Feb, 2018

Marilyn Scholl Recognized for Co-op Leadership

By |2019-09-07T02:01:01-04:00February 6th, 2018|

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 [...]

15th Jun, 2017

Changing the Board Nominations Process

By |2019-09-09T16:19:19-04:00June 15th, 2017|

Ozark Natural Foods Fayetteville, Arkansas Year founded:  1971 Member investment:  $140 Number of members:  9,300 Number of staff:  97 Retail square feet:  9,000 Ozark Natural Foods had a legacy of internal conflict and high board turnover.  Historically, people didn’t necessarily run for the board because they wanted to serve the membership, but wanted to use the board as a platform for promoting their own [...]

6th May, 2017

Understanding the Meaning of “Speaking With One Voice”

By |2021-05-05T15:12:38-04:00May 6th, 2017|

By Michael Healy 189 March-April 2017 Boards of directors regularly struggle with the concept of “speaking with one voice”— primarily because the concept has a dual meaning. Within the context of Policy Governance, which many food co-op boards use, the principle of board holism is sometimes described as “speaking with one voice.” However, the same term is also used to describe or prescribe how [...]

2nd Nov, 2016

Including Members in the Ends Dialogues

By |2020-01-27T20:12:04-05:00November 2nd, 2016|

How is your board spending its time? It’s easy to get caught up in the delegation and accountability portion of a board’s job.  Yet there’s a whole other side to the work that is equally important, and the ultimate endeavor of the board: spending time thinking about the co-op’s desired outcomes, members and member needs. A board is accountable for results produced, but ends [...]

7th Sep, 2016

Connecting the Dots: Strategic Board Leadership in Action

By |2019-09-07T00:30:19-04:00September 7th, 2016|

By Thane Joyal 185 July-Aug 2016   The future is unknowable. Or is it?  Courageous leadership relies in large measure on wise choices. In his entertaining novels, Robert Parker often references the military strategist Clausewitz for the proposition that you should “plan not for what you think your enemy will do, but rather for what your enemy can do.” Wise leadership, in other words, [...]

31st Aug, 2016

So Our Co-ops are Mostly White, Now What?

By |2021-12-07T13:24:40-05:00August 31st, 2016|

In the more than 30 years I’ve been involved with co-ops—student housing co-ops, food co-ops, even a worker-owned collective—almost all of the participants have been white. The same has been true for most of the co-op conferences, meetings, and trainings I’ve attended. Currently I work with food co-ops across the country in which the overwhelming majority of the directors, staff and customers are white. [...]

24th Jul, 2015

Orienting New Directors

By |2020-05-13T17:55:46-04:00July 24th, 2015|

An effective orientation for new directors can help your board quickly integrate and benefit from the contributions of its newest members – shortening and decreasing the intensity of the naturally occurring “storming” phase that occurs when integrating new members into your team. While there will still be plenty of “on the job” learning during the first several board meetings, a good orientation process can [...]

3rd May, 2015

Getting Ready for General Manager Succession

By |2019-09-10T20:13:11-04:00May 3rd, 2015|

By Thane Joyal, Jeanie Wells 178 May-June 2015 Whether or not your cooperative expects to hire a general manager (GM) in the next year, your board should have an awareness of the skills and resources that would be needed to accomplish this essential task. Even if your GM is doing great and has no expressed plans for retirement or other career changes, your board [...]

2nd Mar, 2014

Great Idea: Get a Head Start on the Nominations Process

By |2019-09-09T18:08:15-04:00March 2nd, 2014|

The nominations committee of the Friendly City Food Co-op in Harrisonburg, Va. has been meeting since January to get a head start on the board nominations process. In addition to finding excellent candidates and improving the voting process, the co-op also wants to ensure it has contested elections. “Each year we are trying to be more proactive,” said Laura Toni-Holsinger, the board president. “I [...]

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