LEADer - 2012 Summer

Topic: 
Grow that co-op!
Resource Tags: 
Resource Tags: 

What is your co-op’s growth strategy? Are you thinking about what you want to achieve in terms of growth? What would help your board consider these questions and contribute to a constructive and informed strategy for your co-op?

The topic for this issue was inspired by a presentation made by C.E. Pugh, NCGA’s Chief Operating Officer, at the western regional board training in March 2012 in Portland. In that presentation, C.E. challenged us to think about growth so our co-ops can have a greater impact in our local communities.

We offer five short articles that we think might be useful for your board to consider and discuss as you look at the issue of growth, as well as a series of questions to help your board start the growth conversation.

Why Grow? What’s All This Talk about Growth? – Marcia Shaw
Why should your board and co-op be talking about growth? Here’s a summary of the major factors to consider about why this is an important conversation now.

The Board’s Role in Expansion: Understanding Risk – Philip Buri 
“To simplify a discussion of risk, I suggest that the board’s responsibility falls into three areas: risk direction, risk oversight, and risk control.” Focus your time and effort on how to fulfill your governance responsibilities and manage risk in these three areas.

Engaging Member-Owners in Decisions about Growth – Paige Lettington
“How you involve your members in the decision-making process can literally make or break (an expansion). You want your member-owners on board and on your side.” Here are some things to consider to make sure that’s the case.

Cooperative Disagreement – Cindy Owings
“Eventually and inevitably, the growth question will land officially in the lap of the board of directors…. Differing opinions on a board can provide spirited discussion, depending on the tools a board has in its quiver for dealing with potential conflict.”

It Works for Us! Using a Monthly Study Session to Guide Board Work – Martha Whitman
“Figuring out what’s best for your co-op as it pertains to growth begins with asking questions, and these questions frame how we educate ourselves about the world around us.” Here’s how the La Montañita board tackles these topics to stay ready and focused on the longer-term issues critical to the co-op’s future.

Study Guide – Eight Questions to Start the Growth Conversation 
Consider having your board read and discuss a specific article in this issue, or pick one (or several) of these questions to try to build some common understandings about the co-op’s growth strategy and how the board will influence that direction.

We welcome your comments, suggestions, and stories. Did you learn something? Were the discussions that came out of this issue useful to your board? How did your board use this issue in your planning and visioning process? Send your suggestions, comments, experiences, reactions, and/or new scenarios and resources that you develop, to [email protected].

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