field guide

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 [...]

Policy Governance Quick Guide

By |2022-07-28T12:01:12-04:00March 2nd, 2015|

Policy Governance is an operating system for boards of directors. As with operating systems for computers, the system itself is not the point of the board’s work; the system simply provides an underlying framework on which boards can build further agreements and activities. Policy Governance does not mandate specific decisions, but does highlight the kinds of decisions a board should make. These decisions include [...]

Patronage Dividend: Presenting GM Recommendations

By |2020-07-16T00:10:31-04:00November 12th, 2013|

The “Patronage Dividends for Food Co-ops” Toolbox (available as a free download in the Columinate library) describes the power of patronage dividends as a tool for building strong cooperatives and outlines the steps needed to implement this system. One of the key moments in a co-op’s business cycle comes at the end of a fiscal year when it becomes clear how much profit the [...]

Board Discipline

By |2019-09-10T20:22:56-04:00June 28th, 2013|

In order to be effective in leading a retail food cooperative, a board must protect the integrity of its process.  Two keys to sound board process are the ability to speak with one voice and the ability to protect confidential information.  Most often these objectives are achieved with a shared understanding of the board’s roles and responsibilities, by establishing a set of clearly articulated [...]

Unacceptable Monitoring Reports

By |2020-12-24T19:51:49-05:00January 23rd, 2013|

Boards monitor policy to find out whether their expectations are being met.  A board needs to respond to an unacceptable monitoring report appropriately in order to fulfill its fiduciary responsibility to the co-op's owners. When the General Manager's monitoring doesn't meet the board's expectations the board needs to give clear direction to the Manager. Why do we monitor policy? Boards that use written policy [...]

Minute Taking Essentials

By |2021-08-13T12:07:37-04:00January 9th, 2013|

Keeping good records is one part of a board’s legal Duty of Care; as the record of what happens at meetings, the minutes are an important tool for fulfilling this duty. In practice, minutes primarily serve as a tool for helping directors remember what the board decided at previous meetings, and secondarily as a way to keep our co-op’s members informed about the actions [...]

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