Using Marketing to Build Success: Making Cooperative Ownership and Governance Real

By Rebecca Torpie, Thane Joyal 196 May-June 2018 What does it mean to be an owner of a consumer cooperative? At the most fundamental level, cooperative ownership [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Key Players in Store Remodels: Navigating the Remodel Process

By Nicole Klimek, P.J. Hoffman 196 May-June 2018 Like the simpler store reset, a store remodel may bring a new format, new fixtures, and new merchandising to [...]

When a Living Wage Becomes a Demotivator

By Sarah Dahl 195 March-April 2018 It’s hard to understand how something as benevolent as paying a living wage could cause resentment within the workforce. [...]

The Problem No One Wants to Talk About

A client, who I’ll call Mary, is the owner of a small natural foods store. A new bookkeeper had been on the job for several [...]

Training for soft skills

Yes, you can teach empathy, rapport and authenticity to your staff. Even those who join your staff with a high degree of these “soft skills” [...]

Collaborative Interviewing

A growing body of research shows that cognitive biases creep into everyone’s decisions, even if we consciously strive to be fair. One of the most [...]

Hiring For Success

James Morrell has over 25 years experience in natural foods retail management. Over those years he’s done a lot of hiring. I’ve written about hiring [...]

Real Estate Resource Guide

This guide seeks to clarify the tools and resources available for food co-ops to efficiently secure and develop the physical space needed for their store. [...]

Scenario Planning: Organizing Your Blue Sky Thinking

By Joel Kopischke 195 March-April 2018 What does the future hold? That question has intrigued humankind for ages, and many great minds have done their [...]

Leading Our Co-ops Beyond Customer Service to Cooperative Service

By Brittany Baird, Rebecca Torpie 194 Jan.-Feb. 2018 As food co-ops forge ahead in the “the new normal,” they often find themselves in the precarious place of [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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, [...]

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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.

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.

Welcoming Managers New to Cooperatives

June 13th, 2018|0 Comments

Remember the first time you walked into a food cooperative? Maybe your initial reaction fell somewhere along the continuum of “I found my people” to “what in the world is this place?” Maybe you liked [...]

Co-op Capitalization Campaigns that Engage and Inspire

May 9th, 2018|0 Comments

Research suggests that public speaking tops the list as the number-one fear-inducing activity for most people. Put that together with asking people for money, and you’ve got a potent combination for high anxiety. If you [...]

Cultivating a Culture of Appreciation

March 6th, 2018|0 Comments

According to Gallup News State of the Workforce report in 2017, overall only 30% of employees feel engaged at their jobs. This dismal statistic is a strong invitation for employers in all business sectors to [...]

Establish Financial Feasibility for Your Co-op Project

November 9th, 2017|0 Comments

When it comes to development projects, the word “feasibility” is often used to describe everything from financial forecasting to market potential. It is all of that and more. Feasibility means exploring whether a project is [...]

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 [...]

Generating Board and GM Efficiency through Monitoring

September 12th, 2018|0 Comments

Medford Food Co-op Medford, OR Year founded: 2011 Member investment: $100 Number of members: 3,200 Number of employees: 35 Retail square footage: 4,300 + 700 off-site café When Anne Carter came to [...]

Telling the Story of Local and Fresh

August 3rd, 2018|0 Comments

Moscow Food Co-op Moscow, Idaho Year founded: 1973 Member investment: $150 Number of members: 7,800 Number of employees: 120 Locations: retail store + coffee shop For a long time, the Moscow Food [...]

Analysis of Board Members’ Conflicts of Interest

It’s very common for conflicts of interest to be present on the board of a retail food co-op. Some even joke that conflict management is [...]

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 [...]

How to be an Effective Board President

What’s the difference between an excellent board president and a so-so one? Being an effective president requires a host of proficiencies, attributes and knowledge—it’s no [...]

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 [...]