field guide

How to Use Committees to Help the Board to do Board Work

By |2020-07-24T21:58:30-04:00December 12th, 2012|

Properly structured and monitored board committees can be a good way for a board to accomplish specific board tasks and to ensure that ongoing, repeating processes are carried out. Small groups of people working together are nimble, effective and fun!  Improperly used committees can waste precious board time and energy, and at worst can undermine the Board’s relationship with its General Manager and the [...]

Reporting During Expansion

By |2020-04-27T17:32:31-04:00October 19th, 2012|

Boards delegate to their GM the task of effectively managing the co-op’s operations, which requires a clear system of accountability to ensure the GM is doing this job well. How can a board and GM maintain this system of delegation and accountability during the more risky and busy time of an expansion project? How can the board be sure that good financial management continues [...]

Writing Ends Policies

By |2021-05-04T20:21:49-04:00September 6th, 2012|

Where we are headed matters. If we don’t know where we are going any road will do. A primary responsibility of a board is to define the reason for the organization’s existence.  What are we here for?  What should be different because we exist? For whom? For a board that uses Policy Governance®, Ends are written policies which define a) results, outcomes or benefits [...]

Dealing Responsibly with Operational Concerns

By |2021-07-27T10:58:09-04:00August 3rd, 2012|

Directors who are diligently trying to fulfill their fiduciary duty regularly notice things within their co-op that may be cause for concern – or at least worth asking about. At the same time, these same directors want to honor the Board’s clear delegation to the GM and that GM’s professional judgment. How can responsible directors do both? This Field Guide will outline an approach [...]

Meeting Guidelines for Guests

By |2019-09-09T21:18:36-04:00May 29th, 2012|

Board meetings are at the heart of board work and well-run, productive meetings are an important part of the foundation for any good board. Meetings are typically open to owners, and sometimes others, to attend. Having clear guidelines on attendance at, and participation in, board meetings will support the board in doing its work and will set clear expectations for those attending. Proactively defining [...]

Using EL monitoring reports as the basis of a strategic conversation

By |2021-12-21T10:28:07-05:00February 7th, 2012|

This process is a variation of the one described in the “Boards Acting on Ends Reports” Field Guide. Not all limitations monitoring reports will warrant this extra attention, but sometimes this approach can elevate the board’s monitoring work from basic fiduciary oversight into a more meaningful strategic conversation. Along with determining whether the report demonstrates reasonable accomplishment, the board can use a structured process [...]

Electronic Communication

By |2019-09-09T20:06:12-04:00November 9th, 2011|

Many boards of retail food cooperatives rely heavily on electronic communication tools to handle logistic and administrative matters and to share and store board documents.   For a board with strong communication skills, properly used electronic tools facilitate the administrative details of board service.  For boards working to build trust and communication skills, email in particular can create or add to misunderstandings. Electronic Communication basics: [...]

Policy Governance Implementation

By |2021-06-04T19:58:26-04:00November 7th, 2011|

This Field Guide outlines the basic steps, timeline, and critical factors for successful implementation of Policy Governance (sometimes referred to herein as “PG”). When implementing Policy Governance, it is important to move forward relatively quickly in order to not lose momentum, while taking enough time to make thoughtful and informed decisions.   Main Steps for Implementing Policy Governance Investigate – Learn about Policy Governance [...]

Bylaws basics

By |2019-09-09T20:03:36-04:00November 1st, 2011|

How Do We Know If  We Have the Bylaws We Need? To meet our needs, bylaws must allow for smooth functioning of the coop's internal governance processes while being consistent with both our owners' values and with the relevant laws. Bylaws are the means by which the owners delegate authority to the board.  Under that authority, the board ensures that the co-op meets owners' [...]

Building a Positive Board Performance Culture 2 of 2

By |2019-12-24T19:48:34-05:00November 1st, 2011|

Building a positive board performance culture takes continuous work and vigilance on the part of the board. Part I explored the vital concepts of Shared Understanding of the Job of the Board & Shared Expectations for Board Performance, but every year boards have an election and end up with a ‘new’ board. This provides the board with the opportunity to take advantage of a [...]

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