leadership development

Perpetuating Board Leadership Through Co-op Storytelling

Board perpetuation is a perennial topic for boards. Turnover happens year to year as a cyclical part of board service. So, finding ways to maintain consistently strong governance needs to be a priority and continual task. Things can never stay exactly they as they are (or used to be), so how do boards keep positive momentum going? How do they individually and collectively share [...]

Understanding the Meaning of “Speaking With One Voice”

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 [...]

How to be an Effective Board President

What’s the difference between an excellent board president and a so-so one? Being an effective president requires a host of proficiencies, attributes and knowledge—it’s no easy job! A mix of people skills, the talent to manage and a curiosity and willingness to develop a keen understanding of your co-op’s business are key traits of any good board president. From facilitation savvy, the ability to [...]

Growing Leaders from Within

By Melanie Reid 186 Sept-Oct 2016 As co-ops evolve and expand and our industry continuously changes, it’s important that we have mechanisms in place that enable employees to see career pathways within our organizations. Opportunities to learn new things and grow within the organization are important for everyone on the co-op staff roster. If their training ends after 90 days, you probably have some [...]

Connecting the Dots: Strategic Board Leadership in Action

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, [...]

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

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 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

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 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. [...]

Getting Started with Expansion Planning

By Bill Gessner 180 Sept-Oct 2015 Expansion projects for food co-ops fall somewhere between a labyrinth and a maze. With continuous improvement and development of best practices, expansion projects are moving closer to the one path of a labyrinth and further away from the messiness of a maze. We invite you to step into the expansion labyrinth. You will learn to navigate it through [...]