Leaders in Democracy: Seeking Win-Win through Assertive Cooperation

By Art Sherwood 191 July-August 2017 If we created opportunities in meaningful participation by seeking win-win, it would be a game changer—in our relationships, in our [...]

Autonomy and Independence: What’s Up with Principle Four?

By Ben Sandel Cooperative principle four: Autonomy and independence. What do you think about it? Or perhaps a better question is—do you ever think about it? In [...]

Cooperative Business Law Basics: A Primer on Organizational Structure and Capitalization Options

By Thane Joyal, Dave Swanson Change in the market, change in the world, can mean stress in the relationships within a cooperative as the organization [...]

When a Living Wage Becomes a Demotivator

By Sarah Dahl 195 March-April 2018 It’s hard to understand how something as benevolent as paying a living wage could cause resentment within the workforce. [...]

The Problem No One Wants to Talk About

A client, who I’ll call Mary, is the owner of a small natural foods store. A new bookkeeper had been on the job for several [...]

Aiming for Continuous Communications Improvement

By Sarah Dahl 191 July-August 2017 No one is a perfect communicator, and no co-op experiences completely effective communication at all times. While some co-ops may [...]

Collaborative Interviewing

A growing body of research shows that cognitive biases creep into everyone’s decisions, even if we consciously strive to be fair. One of the most [...]

Hiring For Success

James Morrell has over 25 years experience in natural foods retail management. Over those years he’s done a lot of hiring. I’ve written about hiring [...]

What HR Systems Audits Reveal

When I conduct human resources (HR) systems audits for clients, as part of the audit process I identify problems with personnel records and documentation, and [...]

Scenario Planning: Organizing Your Blue Sky Thinking

By Joel Kopischke 195 March-April 2018 What does the future hold? That question has intrigued humankind for ages, and many great minds have done their [...]

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 [...]

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

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 [...]

Leaders in Democracy: Seeking Win-Win through Assertive Cooperation

By Art Sherwood 191 July-August 2017 If we created opportunities in meaningful participation by seeking win-win, it would be a game changer—in our relationships, in our [...]

Autonomy and Independence: What’s Up with Principle Four?

By Ben Sandel Cooperative principle four: Autonomy and independence. What do you think about it? Or perhaps a better question is—do you ever think about it? In [...]

Everyone Welcome? Personal Narratives about Race and Food Co-ops

By Jade Barker and Patricia Cumbie We believe that now is a critical time to engage our cooperative community in important conversations about racism and [...]

Video Field Guide: Membership Growth

Ben Sandel is a board leadership consultant and capital campaign expert working with startups and established co-ops helping them to reach their fundraising goals using [...]

When and Who to Hire (or Contract) for Startups

As a new co-op project progresses through the 3 stages of the development process and the workload and complexity of the co-op development process increases, [...]

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CBL 101

Cooperative Board Leadership 101

More than 3,500 co-op leaders have participated in a CBL 101 since 2005. The day provides a strong foundation for directors by covering these topics: Cooperative principles, values and history, legal roles and responsibilities, cooperative governance, financial understanding using the balance sheet.

With the CBL 101 built into your co-op’s orientation plan, the session provides value both in the short term for those attending each session, and in the long term by maintaining a shared foundation for your board as directors come and go.

Cooperative Cafe

Cooperative Cafe

The Co-op Cafe provides a day of highly interactive and engaging strategic conversations designed to build shared understanding and alignment at your co-op and among co-ops. Cafe conversations focus on participation, and building community and meaningful relationships in our co-ops as essential elements of growing our co-ops.

Cafe presentations and roundup videos are available here.

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Welcoming Managers New to Cooperatives

June 13th, 2018|0 Comments

Remember the first time you walked into a food cooperative? Maybe your initial reaction fell somewhere along the continuum of “I found my people” to “what in the world is this place?” Maybe you liked [...]

Co-op Capitalization Campaigns that Engage and Inspire

May 9th, 2018|0 Comments

Research suggests that public speaking tops the list as the number-one fear-inducing activity for most people. Put that together with asking people for money, and you’ve got a potent combination for high anxiety. If you [...]

Cultivating a Culture of Appreciation

March 6th, 2018|0 Comments

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 [...]

Establish Financial Feasibility for Your Co-op Project

November 9th, 2017|0 Comments

When it comes to development projects, the word “feasibility” is often used to describe everything from financial forecasting to market potential. It is all of that and more. Feasibility means exploring whether a project is [...]

NCG and Climate Collaborative to Recognize Exemplary Leadership on Climate Change

April 12th, 2017|0 Comments

At the first-ever Climate Day event held at the Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, California, on March 8, National Co+op Grocers (NCG) joined with the newly formed Climate Collaborative to announce a cutting-edge awards program [...]

What Drives Co-op Employee Engagement

March 9th, 2017|3 Comments

Workplace employee engagement is a hot topic.  Open any human resources publication and you’ll find countless articles on making work fun, motivational and results-oriented.  No matter what the individual strategies are to achieve that, the [...]

Co-op Fair Brings Community Together

November 2nd, 2016|0 Comments

Weaver Street Market in Carrboro, N.C. is continually working to cultivate community connections.  They host multiple events every year, and the Co-op Fair is one special event that brings hundreds of co-op owners together for [...]

Creating Board Holism in Board Communication

October 5th, 2016|1 Comment

Here are a few examples of recurring board processes:  nominations, recruiting and elections; GM evaluation; GM compensation; board self-evaluation; setting board priorities; agenda planning; officers roles and elections; code of conduct review and consideration of [...]

National Organic Coalition Hill Day Advocates for Farmers and Consumers

August 4th, 2016|0 Comments

In June, representatives from National Co+op Grocers visited Capitol Hill as part of the National Organic Coalition’s (NOC) annual “Hill Day.”  NCG is a cofounder and active member of NOC, which is a coalition of [...]

Davis Food Co-op Welcomes Prasanna Regmi

June 13th, 2018|0 Comments

Davis Food Co-op Davis, CA Year founded: 1972 Number of members: 9,400 Member equity: $300 Number of employees: 142 Prasanna Regmi has been the general manager at Davis Food Co-op in Davis, [...]

Capital Campaign Funding Builds Expansion Momentum

May 9th, 2018|0 Comments

Astoria Food Co-op Astoria, OR Year founded: 1974 Member investment: $200 Number of members: 4,200 Number of employees: 25 Retail square feet: 2,000 currently (7,000 Summer 2019) The town of Astoria, Oregon [...]

Analysis of Board Members’ Conflicts of Interest

It’s very common for conflicts of interest to be present on the board of a retail food co-op. Some even joke that conflict management is [...]

Responding to Employee Concerns

Co-op employees will at least occasionally bring complaints and concerns to the board or individual directors, yet the board itself is ill-suited for the task [...]

Board Communication: Using the Board’s Unique Perspective to Increase Owner Engagement and Participation

There’s commonly a remarkable diversity among how the members of a co-op’s board of directors and how co-op staff see and understand the co-op. And [...]

Key Financial Indicators

The CBLD template Financial Conditions policy and sample report suggest that boards and managers regularly monitor a number of key indicators of financial health. Here [...]

Videography Tips for Recording Live Presentations

As a professional videographer I am often asked for tips on how to capture great video recordings.  Since I know this is a question people [...]

Policy Register Template Users’ Guide

Co-op boards that use Policy Governance® write policies as a way to codify their agreements for how they will work together, how they will delegate [...]

Video Field Guide: Membership Growth

Ben Sandel is a board leadership consultant and capital campaign expert working with startups and established co-ops helping them to reach their fundraising goals using [...]

Committee Charters Field Guide

All board committees should have a charter – a description of the committee’s purpose and authority. One person, generally the board secretary, should have primary [...]