thinking strategically

Co-ops at a Crossroads: A Co-op Security Case Study

By |2019-12-12T05:34:31+00:00February 2nd, 2018|Improve Operations|

By Michael Feiner, Paul Feiner 194 Jan.-Feb. 2018 Retail grocery co-ops are as quintessential Vermont as the brilliant colors of our fall foliage, the hallmark herd of Holsteins on the pasture, or the one-room schoolhouse at the crossroads of two backcountry roads. In fact, it’s said that Vermont boasts the most food co-ops per capita in the country—somewhere in the neighborhood of 17, give or take, [...]

Making Smarter Strategic Decisions through Board Engagement with Owners

By |2019-09-07T01:01:58+00:00June 2nd, 2017|Cultivate Your Community, Develop Your Leaders|

When boards and management make decisions with the long game of co-op impact in mind, a powerful relationship with owners can develop. Strategic decision-making can be an opportunity to build a strong, participatory co-op culture that understands that the leadership is obliged, by virtue of its fiduciary responsibility, to make decisions to benefit the co-op and accordingly, its owners. Owners typically have high expectations [...]

Analyzing Your Store’s Systems

By |2019-09-09T19:25:59+00:00December 28th, 2015|Improve Operations|

By Mary Myers, Walden Swanson 042 September - October - 1992 This is the third in a series of articles based on Business Planning For Cooperatives, a manual published by Cooperative Development Services that provides step by step Instructions for writing business plans. This manual is based on the principles of systems analysis, which recommend an analysis of each of a retail co-op's key [...]

Boycotts and Democracy – The Eden Foods Product Boycott as an Opportunity to Renew Co-op Participation and Democracy

By |2019-09-09T19:27:24+00:00December 22nd, 2015|Develop Your Leaders|

By Todd Wallace In the summer of 2014, a Supreme Court ruling in the case of Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby led the CEO of Eden Foods, a prominent organic foods producer, to revive an earlier 2013 court case arguing that the company be exempted from paying for its employees to receive birth-control, as required by the Affordable Care Act. The company’s lawyers cited the [...]

Reinventing our Cooperative Democracy: A Conversation

By |2019-09-10T01:03:16+00:00November 16th, 2014|Develop Your Leaders|

By Art Sherwood, Todd Wallace 175 November-December 2014 In 2013, the International Cooperative Alliance, in its “Blueprint for a Cooperative Decade,” identified the elevating of participation as a key component of its 2020 Vision for more and stronger cooperatives. The “Blueprint” states that, “Democratic member participation is the best-known feature of the co-operative way of doing business and a major part of what characterizes [...]

The Growth Roadway

By |2019-09-09T23:16:14+00:00November 16th, 2012|Develop Your Leaders, Grow Your Business|

By Art Sherwood 163 November-December 2012 Expansion and growth are on the minds of many cooperative board and management leaders. And this makes sense, since growing our cooperatives’ abilities to deliver on their organizational Ends is of critical strategic importance. It certainly was on our minds at Bloomingfoods Co-op (Bloomington, Ind.) this last year as we addressed growing to include a fourth store and [...]

Writing Ends Policies

By |2019-09-10T01:18:11+00:00September 6th, 2012|Develop Your Leaders, Field Guides|

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 [...]

Measuring Ends, Telling Our Story

By |2019-09-09T21:02:10+00:00March 17th, 2012|Develop Your Leaders|

By Michael Healy 159 March - April - 2012 Why does the work of measuring the co-op's accomplishments and telling the co-op's story matter? Cooperative enterprises build a better world. This tagline for the 2012 International Year of Cooperatives says so much with so few words. These few words can lead us to ask many compelling questions, among them: What does that better world [...]

Using EL monitoring reports as the basis of a strategic conversation

By |2019-09-09T20:46:53+00:00February 7th, 2012|Develop Your Leaders, Field Guides|

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 [...]