Democracy/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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Relax! You Are Linked

Cooperative boards of directors are small groups of people who influence the future of the world. They are committed citizens who think and learn and work together for something that together they find relevant and compelling. Directors are practically the direct descendants of the Rochdale Pioneers. Like their “ancestors,” the [...]

Including Members in the Ends Dialogues

How is your board spending its time? It’s easy to get caught up in the delegation and accountability portion of a board’s job.  Yet there’s a whole other side to the work that is equally important, and the ultimate endeavor of the board: spending time thinking about the co-op’s desired [...]

A Board’s Quick Guide to Communicating Decisions to Owners

As competition makes the reality of executing difficult or complex business decisions more common, it's important that boards be ready to address situations when owners are concerned or disagree with decisions the board has made or overseen on behalf of the co-op. The power of democratic ownership comes from understanding [...]

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 best practices and clear planning gleaned from a multitude of successful fundraising efforts from food co-ops and startups nationwide. In this short presentation, Ben imparts [...]

So Our Co-ops are Mostly White, Now What?

In the more than 30 years I’ve been involved with co-ops—student housing co-ops, food co-ops, even a worker-owned collective—almost all of the participants have been white. The same has been true for most of the co-op conferences, meetings, and trainings I’ve attended. Currently I work with food co-ops across the [...]

National Organic Coalition Hill Day Advocates for Farmers and Consumers

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 fourteen member organizations that advocate for federal programs to support organic agriculture and strong organic [...]