board-management relationship

Co-op General Manager Success Profile: GM Role Requires Core Competencies

By |2019-09-06T23:37:35-04:00March 30th, 2016|

By Carolee Colter, Lauren Olsen, Marilyn Scholl 183 Mar-Apr 2016 It takes a lot to manage a food co-op. Co-op general managers (GMs) are responsible not only for the retail operations but also for budgeting, financial analysis, marketing, information technology, and human resources—functions that are provided by corporate headquarters to managers of chain stores. Co-op GMs, in addition to the demands of the business, [...]

Complaints and Operational Concerns: How Directors Can Respond Effectively

By |2019-09-09T19:19:48-04:00January 30th, 2016|

By Michael Healy 182 January-February 2016 As a director, you may notice or hear things about your co-op that may be cause for concern—or are at least worth asking about. How can you respond in a way that honors your sense of responsibility, your board’s clear delegation to the general manager (GM), and your GM’s professional judgment? Here is an approach that opens a [...]

GM Success Profile

By |2019-09-17T00:47:40-04:00January 29th, 2016|

Increasingly intense and sustained competition in our market is shifting the landscape in which co-ops operate, putting a premium on certain key competencies and skills in management. At the same time, other factors are making the GM job more complex and demanding, including: pressure on prices and margin, increasing costs of real estate and development, and calls for a living wage at a time [...]

Operational Wisdom from General Managers

By |2019-09-09T19:27:53-04:00December 22nd, 2015|

By Thane Joyal 181 Nov-Dec 2015 Successful cooperatives are guided by strong boards, and those boards rely on strong individuals to manage the cooperative’s business enterprise with excellence. The nature and quality of the board-general manager (GM) relationship, for better or worse, influences nearly all the myriad factors that lead to a cooperative’s success. The relationship is not simply that of employer and employee. [...]

Components of a Successful System of Accountable Empowerment

By |2019-09-09T19:28:30-04:00December 10th, 2015|

Accountable Empowerment It is always important for a co-op board of directors to have good systems of accountability in place to provide proper and strategic oversight of the general manager.  With strongly increasing demand for natural and organic products resulting in more pressure from competitors, cooperatives need to strengthen operations, and at the same time effectively communicate the value the cooperative brings to its [...]

Building a Strong Top Leadership Team: Creating and maintaining a healthy board-GM relationship

By |2019-09-10T00:42:29-04:00March 4th, 2015|

By Michael Healy 177 March-April 2015 In many co-ops, the manager and board of directors function effectively as a leadership team. Along with having systems and structures in place that support and encourage healthy personal and professional relationships, a key element in each of these high-functioning teams is a general manager (GM) who has accepted responsibility for strengthening the board-GM relationship. Through interviews with [...]

The Coming Wave: We will need to fill more GM positions than ever before

By |2019-09-10T00:53:17-04:00January 4th, 2015|

By Carolee Colter 176 January-February 2015 As we all know, the baby boom generation is hitting retirement age. Roughly a quarter of the U.S. population was born between 1946 and 1964, and every month a quarter million more are turning 65. That age is not a magic number for retirement. With the recent recession, many people put off retiring longer than they otherwise might [...]

Establish Platform for Strong Cooperative Direction through Board-GM Relationship

By |2019-09-10T01:06:32-04:00November 1st, 2014|

The relationship between the board and general manager is of paramount importance to any cooperative because both parties provide a connection to the co-op’s main constituency: owners. The co-op owners trust that their elected representatives will provide good governance on their behalf, resulting in positive outcomes toward fulfilling the co-op’s goals. In turn, the board delegates responsibility to management to carry out operational strategies [...]

Strategic Alignment of Board and GM

By |2019-09-10T20:26:56-04:00July 1st, 2013|

Of all the important relationships in a cooperative, the one between the general manager and the board is arguably the most critical to the co-op’s long-term success. If the basic elements of trust and accountability are lacking for either party, chances of working together will be fraught with conflict or misunderstanding. It will be hard for the co-op to grow or move forward, and [...]

General Manager Contract Template

By |2020-01-14T22:43:40-05:00June 28th, 2013|

Updated: August 2nd, 2016 Every board of directors of a retail food cooperative should strive to be an excellent employer for their general manager, the person who is responsible for the success of the cooperative. Clear expectations are part of being a good employer and contracts are one possible tool that boards can use to clarify expectations and provide for terms of separation. Contracts [...]

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