by Michael Healy and Nina Johnson
For the ongoing health of your co-op it is important that your board and general manager maintain an effective system of accountability and communication at all times. But how can a board and GM maintain this during the more risky and busy time of an expansion project? How can the board be sure that good financial management continues during expansion? How can the GM present information to the board to demonstrate this performance?
Even though the board and GM may be extra busy during expansion, this is no time to set aside your regular monitoring and communication practices. In fact, it is more important than ever to be aware of the additional factors specific to expansion that could place your co-op at risk.
This Field Guide outlines the need for strong foundations in delegation and accountability, and an increase in the focus and frequency of GM communication. It also provides a sample Expansion Project “Key Indicators” Update; an effective way for boards to get frequent updates on the key indicators that the expansion project is progressing as planned.
“Some boards and GMs feel overwhelmed by the extra work involved in an expansion project, and they think that taking a break from writing and reviewing monitoring reports sounds like a great way to alleviate some of the stress. But actually, because expansion time is a busier and more risky time, the board and GM need to be paying more attention, not less. I hope this field guide will help boards and GMs understand the importance of monitoring and provide a simple and effective way for boards to get the information they need, when they need it so that everyone involved can sleep well at night.” —Nina Johnson
“I appreciate the work that Kari Bradley and Alex Gyori put into creating a communications tool that helped the Hunger Mountain and Brattleboro boards stay well-informed during their expansion projects. Alex’s and Kari’s project reports form the basis of the sample we’ve included in this Field Guide; now I can’t wait to see how other managers and boards build upon this foundation as they grow their own co-ops.” —Michael Healy