Making Smarter Strategic Decisions through Board Engagement with Owners

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 [...]

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 [...]

Striking the Balance for Co-op Success

By Mark Goehring, Rebecca Torpie March-April 2017 A truly successful co-op is one that not only runs a stellar store and keeps the books in the [...]

Telling the Board Story Through the Co-op Marketing Department

By Rebecca Torpie 190 May-June 2017 Co-op boards and marketing teams can be like two ships passing in the night. Chances are they’ve crossed paths during [...]

Meat Managers Share Advice on Competing with the Big Boys

By Pete Hodgson 189 March-April 2017 A decade ago, it was still a challenge for consumers to find high quality, locally raised meats. Nowadays, there [...]

Personalities and Performance: Appreciating Differences with Help from Myers-Briggs Assessments

By Joel Kopischke #187 Nov.-Dec 2016 There is no shortage of stressors for people involved in co-ops today. With challenging economic and political conditions added [...]

Pointers for a successful job fair

If you are planning an expansion of your location or service offerings, or just need a fresh influx of applicants, a job fair is a [...]

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 [...]

Creating accountability

A manager of an independent natural food store, when her store was smaller, met individually with her department managers every week to talk about how [...]

Distinguishing Characteristics: Utilizing the Power of Produce to Stand Out from the Crowd

By James Morrell 190 May-June 2017 Keeping it fresh: a vibrant and fresh produce department is a key part of most natural food cooperatives, and a [...]

Telling the Board Story Through the Co-op Marketing Department

By Rebecca Torpie 190 May-June 2017 Co-op boards and marketing teams can be like two ships passing in the night. Chances are they’ve crossed paths during [...]

Retail Operations Survey 2002 Report: Invest in Success

Available only as a PDF below, due to complexity of content. Prepared with the help of the Data Analyst Team* * Data analysis was carried [...]

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, [...]

Creating Cooperative Resiliency

By Thane Joyal #187 Nov.-Dec 2016 Conflict happens. Co-ops have always faced conflict, whether in the boardroom, in member meetings, through social media and email, [...]

Making the most of CBLD II

First up will be a short series, on making the most of the CBLD program. This series will both share examples of how to achieve [...]

Making the Most of CBLD I

First up will be a short series, on making the most of the CBLD program. This series will both share examples of how to achieve [...]

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Upcoming Events

  1. CBL 101 – St. Paul 2017

    September 23 @ 8:30 am - 4:30 pm UTC-5
  2. CBL 101 – Austin 2017

    September 23 @ 8:30 am - 4:30 pm UTC-5
  3. CBL 101 – Sacramento 2017

    September 23 @ 8:30 am - 4:30 pm UTC-5
  4. Co-op Cafe – Provender 2017

    October 7 @ 8:15 am - 4:00 pm UTC-5
  5. Co-op Cafe – Arlington 2017

    October 14 @ 8:15 am - 4:00 pm UTC-5

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.

Leadership Training

Leadership Training

The Leadership Training focuses on three levels of leadership development: individual skill building, building an effective team, and integrating the strategic process into a work plan. Participants are introduced to leadership concepts and practice using relevant topics and scenarios, including leadership for growing co-ops.

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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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 [...]

Outlook for Growth and Establishing New Co-ops

July 6th, 2016|0 Comments

The good news about the current environment for food co-op expansions and startups is that there’s continued planning for growth among established stores, and ongoing organizing activity for new co-ops.  If there is a downside [...]

On Board with Participation

July 6th, 2016|0 Comments

No chain grocery store could ever be as woven into the fabric of its community as a co-op. Boards can help their co-ops leverage this advantage by looking at their role as board members through [...]

Power of Staff and Community Participation at Central Co-op

July 6th, 2016|0 Comments

The board-GM team at Central Co-op has a very clear vision of how the Co-op presents as a community anchor and advocate: The Co-op is a point of convergence where participants make good things happen [...]

Streamline Nominations and Elections Process to Ensure Future Governance

July 6th, 2016|0 Comments

As food co-ops add locations and post sales well into the multi-millions, it is critical that these important community assets are well-governed.  Because the stakes are higher than ever, food co-ops need people with strong [...]

Reflecting Ends and Implementing Inclusivity Practices

July 12th, 2017|0 Comments

Seward Community Co-op Minneapolis, MN Year founded:  1972 Member investment:  $75 Number of members:  16,000 Number of employees:  335 Business units:  two retail grocery stores, restaurant, production facility In 2013, when Seward [...]

Changing the Board Nominations Process

June 15th, 2017|0 Comments

Ozark Natural Foods Fayetteville, Arkansas Year founded:  1971 Member investment:  $140 Number of members:  9,300 Number of staff:  97 Retail square feet:  9,000 Ozark Natural Foods had a legacy of internal conflict [...]

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 [...]

Board Decisions Between Meetings

By Michael Healy, CBLD Board Consultant As a general practice, boards should avoid making decisions between regular meetings. A large part of the value of [...]

Self-Assessment Tool: General Manager Success Profile

This assessment tool is designed to help a coach and a client prioritize areas for work together.  The assessment will [...]

CBL 101 Reader

CBL 101 Reader

GM Success Profile

Increasingly intense and sustained competition in our market is shifting the landscape in which co-ops operate, putting a premium on [...]

The Decision Matrix

By: Carolee Colter & Jeanie Wells   When an organization is going through rapid change, roles within the organization change, [...]