co-op culture

Introducing Your Co-op to New Communities

Business introductions are a networking staple—and they run the gamut from the ho-hum ‘We are here to sell you something’ to the dynamic, ‘We love to support communities and make a difference in people’s lives.’ As co-ops continue to seek out ways to innovate, offer more goods and services, and reach out to new communities, it is worth the investment of time and resources [...]

Cultivating a Culture of Appreciation

According to Gallup News State of the Workforce report in 2017, overall only 30% of employees feel engaged at their jobs. This dismal statistic is a strong invitation for employers in all business sectors to consider the type of work culture that might contribute to a sense of disaffection and actively work to change it. Employees who do feel a sense of connection are [...]

Leading Our Co-ops Beyond Customer Service to Cooperative Service

By Brittany Baird, Rebecca Torpie 194 Jan.-Feb. 2018 As food co-ops forge ahead in the “the new normal,” they often find themselves in the precarious place of trying to both differentiate from and conform to competitors. From the consistent progression of conventional grocery stores towards natural products offerings, to the growing threat of internet retailers, food co-ops are experiencing an increasingly urgent pressure to raise the [...]

The Cooperative Advantage

Sometimes the obvious isn’t so obvious. Just because we have co-op in our name does not mean that people will really understand what that means. The formal definition of a cooperative is an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically-controlled enterprise. But we need to give that meaning life. [...]

Amplify Cooperative Impact through Participation

The democratic structure of cooperatives allows people the opportunity to have a real influence on business goals and outcomes through their investment, patronage, feedback, and aspirations.  It’s one of the most defining features of cooperation, especially compared to other business models where social or environmental impact may be considered incidental.  In cooperatives, concern for community is one of our principles and purpose.  In 2012, [...]

Cooperative Communication Conundrums: Exploring paths to alignment and healing when a cooperative encounters controversy

By Thane Joyal 179 July-August 2015 To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives... The future is an indefinite succession of presents, and to live [...]

Meet Adam Schwartz: Co-op Advocate

Adam Schwartz has spent his career advocating for co-ops and promoting their value to industry leaders and consumers. Schwartz’s background in lobbying and public policy was critical in convincing Congress to fund the first-ever in-depth research project on the economic impact of cooperatives, conducted by the University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives. Schwartz leverages his extensive cooperative network to develop communication strategies about the [...]

Seven Steps to Re-energize your Cooperative Culture

By Adam Schwartz 166 May-June 2013 "Culture is to an organization what water is to a fish—it is the environment that exists all around us." If I asked you to describe the culture of your food co-op in one word, what would it be? How would you know if others in your organization feel the same way? There has been a good deal of [...]

Who’s Driving the Bus? Bringing cooperation inside the store walls

By Carolee Colter, Jeanie Wells 162 September-October 2012 As we go about our work of assessing organizational structures and conducting employee surveys in food co-ops, we frequently encounter an ongoing struggle between the marketing department (or lone marketing staff person) and the heads of the sales departments. Comments we’ve heard from marketing staff: The departments just don’t seem to understand that I’m trying to [...]