Participation

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 customer service, in our strategies, in our partnerships, and in our innovative approaches to solving pressing social problems.  Democracy is hard. And because it is [...]

Telling Stories with Intention

In our digitally-connected universe, there has been an explosion of stories—and many of them come to us like processed food. Quick, canned, too many empty calories. So much of what people encounter in the form of news or stories about organizations or individuals feels inconsequential or insincere. All of us [...]

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 my consulting practice, I sometimes lead activities designed to get people thinking and talking about cooperative values and principles. I’d never accuse my clients of [...]

What Kind of Experience Does Your Food Co-op Deliver?

Customer service experiences are a very hot topic, especially online and in social media.  People regularly share the good and the bad, and social media has become the new word-of-mouth.  It’s where people hear from friends, family and acquaintances how they “rate” the businesses they frequent.  The Amazon acquisition of [...]

Cooperative Service Training Helps Staff Promote the Co-op

Friendly City Food Co-op Harrisonburg, VA Year founded:  2011 Membership investment:  $200 Number of members:  1,800 Number of employees:  34 Retail square feet:  5,600 When Friendly City Food Co-op in Harrisonburg, Va. opened as a startup in 2011, they quickly gained a positive reputation in the community for providing great [...]

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 oppression. Everyone Welcome? Personal Narratives about Race and Food Co-ops presents a variety of perspectives on what can be done to make food co-ops more [...]

The Cooperative Advantage

Sometimes the obvious isn’t so obvious. Just because we have co-op in our name does not mean that people will really understand what that means. The formal definition of a cooperative is an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations [...]

The Cooperative Difference is Your Competitive Advantage

 Ownership is what distinguishes cooperatives from other businesses, and what creates value and benefit to people in local communities. It’s why co-ops operate with their customer’s best interests as their focus. It’s how cohesion in neighborhoods is built and sustained. Every co-op needs a strong membership program that will serve [...]

The Power of Board Perpetuation Planning

Board perpetuation is a key task for directors, and actively pursuing it throughout the year (and every year) creates a powerful influence in the quality of board work. The first step is having a strong list of potential candidates before the election cycle. There are a variety of components to [...]

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 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 [...]