Organizational Structure

Setting a course for the next 40 years

Sebeslav took ownership of The Peanut Mill Natural Foods Market from his mother Antje Wirth in 2009, things were already in good shape.   Established in 1976 by Antje, the St. Catharines, ON store was one of the longest serving and most successful in the Niagara region. When Jason Sebeslav took [...]

Don’t fall into the assistant manager ‘overflow bucket’ trap

We like rewarding good staff, so what do we do? We make them assistant department managers--even when the department only has two employees and does not need an assistant manager! The responsibilities for most assistant managers can look like an ill-defined overflow bucket for the manager. Perhaps the manager wanted [...]

The Decision Matrix

By: Carolee Colter & Jeanie Wells   When an organization is going through rapid change, roles within the organization change, too, and not always in a consciously thought-through manner. Expansions can result in forming new layers of positions. For example, opening a second store creates the necessity for new approaches [...]

Staffing for a natural products store expansion

Your new store will have a bigger deli, more parking and a better floor plan. But will it have the staffing to support bigger and better operations? You will have a strong staffing plan to match your expansion plan if you remember a few key guidelines: First and most importantly, [...]

Expanding to a Multi-Store Co-op: Build capacity from the inside out

By Jeanie Wells 171 March-April 2014 Your market study promises great sales. Developers are wooing you into their properties. Staff and shoppers are clamoring for more space. Adding a second store seems like a piece of cake, right? Not quite. Ask any leader of a food co-op that has made [...]

3 steps toward sustainable business growth

In the midst of growth, leaders may see that they are outgrowing their structure and systems but feel so overwhelmed that they can’t imagine stopping long enough to make changes. Guess what? We will never feel like we have the time to make big changes. What’s the solution? Shift the [...]

How to be a flexible yet practical employer

By Jeanie Wells Have individuals' preferences trumped your organization's needs? For example, is there inappropriate store support and coverage? Or, are there structural weaknesses that hurt team effectiveness and clear accountability? Here are two ways to address those challenges: 1. Appropriate store support and coverage We must design the staff [...]

Who’s Driving the Bus? Bringing cooperation inside the store walls

By Carolee Colter, Jeanie Wells 162 September-October 2012 As we go about our work of assessing organizational structures and conducting employee surveys in food co-ops, we frequently encounter an ongoing struggle between the marketing department (or lone marketing staff person) and the heads of the sales departments. Comments we’ve heard [...]