One of the most significant ways that boards can contribute to their co-ops is to help shape a clear direction and strategy. Instead of guidelines on how to go through a strategic planning process, this issue is focused on how the board can contribute to the co-op’s capacity at strategic thinking through an on-going process.
To do this, we offer one specific strategic issue that is critical to the future of all food co-ops and use this edition to illustrate ways to consider this topic as a board. The issue covered is demographic changes in our country and society at large. The study guide for this LEADer offers four different scenarios related to this topic.
Thinking Strategically – Marcia Shaw
“Strategic thinking looks at the entire system that surrounds the cooperative and takes into account a wide variety of topics and factors that impact that system. What’s going on in your community that might influence how people shop, eat, or organize their lives? Strategic thinking helps you prepare for the future.”
A Strategic Issue: Changing Demographics at Your Co-op – Martha Whitman
“The strategic issue we’ve chosen is the shifting demographics occurring in the United States. The focus is on trends in population age and ethnicity, as both bring new and different implications to our society. The items in this issue’s study guide will help you frame conversations to discuss these trends and their impact on your co-op.”
Keeping the Conversation Going – Lucinda Berdon
“Once your co-op’s board has begun the process of strategic thinking, how will that thoughtful, creative conversation be kept alive? How can you possibly continue working on this approach when you have an expansion (or other day-to-day) issues taking place?” Here are some suggestions on ways to make the process of looking ahead and considering the future an on-going part of the board’s work.
Study Guide – Changing Demographics and Their Effect on Your Co-op
This issue’s study guide offers background materials and discussion questions on four topics related to demographics and how they may affect the co-op. We also include some suggestions on how to use these scenarios.
We hope you find this issue useful and, as always, would love to hear how you adapt or use it to your co-op. Send your suggestions, comments, experiences, reactions, and/or new scenarios and resources that you develop, to [email protected].