LEADer Issues and Topics

Issue #28: Summer, 2015

Don’t Put This Off! Co-op Succession Planning
Listen up! It's as inevitable as the start of a new fiscal year. Our entire food co-op system is facing a wave of top management turnover in the next five to ten years and the board must start planning and preparing for this now! Your co-op's GM may be getting ready to retire. Or your co-0p's GM may be attracted to move to another co-op after a long-term GM retires. Now is the time to start preparing. Don't put this off!

Issue #27: Spring, 2015

A Deeper Dive into Co-op Finances
There’s a wealth of information available through your co-op’s financial statements. However, all too often directors skim over the statements or don’t know how to even approach this daunting compilation of data. In this issue we take a “deeper dive” beyond the basics, which were covered in our Winter 2010 issue. This issue covers cash flow, comparison reports, financial strategy, and capital budgets.

Issue #26: Winter, 2015

The Board’s Job: A Collection of the BEST
What exactly is the board's job? What are the main areas of responsibility for the co-op director? This issue is intended to provide a starting point for new board members to better understand the duties and scope of work for the co-op board and individual directors.

Issue #25: Fall, 2014

Great Governance: Annual Meetings
Annual meetings are a given for incorporated cooperatives. But they can be so much more than a perfunctory corporate requirement. This issue looks at why we want to have an annual meeting, some options for different ways to make them fruitful and fun, as well as some ideas from one co-op about how they do it.

Issue #24: Summer, 2014

Boards That Make a Difference
Board members often wonder, or even doubt, whether they are being effective or making a difference. This issue takes a look at exactly how boards can contribute in positive ways to their co-ops.

Issue #23: Spring, 2014

Stealing Second Base: Considering Risky Issues for the Co-op
Being a co-op board member means making business decisions, and making business decisions means embracing the risks that come with them. In this issue, we offer four articles to help directors embrace the risk that comes with the job and to provide guidance on handling risky decisions. The study guide offers a series of questions and scenarios for discussion, along with some pointers on how to have discussions about "risky" topics.

Issue #22: Winter, 2014

Adventures in Transparency-land: Balancing Democratic Control with Business Realities
Our co-ops are fully committed to democratic control by members. Yet at the same time, boards need to manage business information in a way that is responsible to the co-op's business interests and partners, as well. In this issue, we offer four short articles on this topic as well as a study guide of scenarios that can help guide the board's discussions and policy.

Issue #21: Fall, 2013

The Joy of Board Recruitment: Recipes for Success
Recruiting board members is a critical function for the co-op's long-term success and continued board effectiveness. This issue includes four short articles to inspire improvements in your board nominations and recruitment process. The study guide provides a checklist of responsibilities for an effective board nominating committee.

Issue #20: Summer, 2013

Expanding the Conversation
This Issue: Expanding the Conversation NCGA invited board leaders to join its designated representatives (GMs or other primary liaison) at its spring 2013 meeting in St. Paul to discuss the future of co-ops and our food co-op sector. This issue is designed to help those who attended that meeting "expand the conversation" – to take the ideas and topics discussed back to their local co-op's board and leadership team for consideration and broader discussion.

Issue #19: Spring, 2013

Can We Be Agile?
This Issue: Can We Be Agile? The International Year of Cooperatives is now past. Co-ops now have an opportunity to show what a superior economic model and alternative they offer. To do so, we need agile, dynamic, and successful co-op businesses. In this issue we share some recent research about the need for co-ops to address a key weakness - business agility - and some thoughts on what this can mean for food co-ops.

Issue #18: Winter, 2013

Be Ready for Those Growth Opportunities!
Building a culture of growth. Five stories and lessons learned from co-ops’ experiences with growth: Community Food Co-op of Bozeman; La Montanita of Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Gallup; Sacramento Co-op; Great Basin Community Food Co-op; and First Alternative of Corvallis. And then three sets of questions to help your board envision a future for your co-op.

Issue #17: Fall, 2012

Power for the co-op and its leaders
How do boards balance the power of their position and the need to be decisive and take action, with a deep commitment to co-op values? We offer thoughts and discussion questions on what power means, where power resides, and how your board embraces its power in a healthy, productive manner.

Issue #16: Summer, 2012

Grow that co-op!
Why is growth important for your co-op? Food for thought and questions to discuss as your board considers deciding what your co-op’s growth strategy is.

Issue #15: Spring, 2012

Why co-op, after all?
Why are our stores structured as co-ops? Is this structure still important? Relevant? An asset to our organizations?

Issue #14: Winter, 2012

The role and potential of board committees
We hardly ever hear about a board without also hearing about its committees. Why is this? Why do boards use committees? And what can board do to make better use of their committees?

Issue #13: Fall, 2011

Dealing with a crisis
Build agreements in advance so you’re prepared when a crisis hits

Issue #12: Summer, 2011

Strategic thinking
Thinking strategically and specifically looking at co-op demographic trends

Issue #11: Spring, 2011

Evaluating the Co-op General Manager
The art and science of effective GM evaluations

Issue #10: Winter, 2010

Monitoring financials
Understanding financials and the 8 key indicators for boards to monitor

Issue #9: Fall, 2010

Board orientation
Orientation for new directors and for building board cohesion on an ongoing basis

Issue #8: Summer, 2010

Enhancing board effectiveness: 2
What is board culture and how does it contribute to effectiveness

Issue #7: Spring, 2010

Enhancing board effectiveness: 1
Assessing board effectiveness and systems to support improvements

Issue #6: Winter, 2009

Board retreats
Guidelines and tips for productive board retreats

Issue #5: Fall, 2009

Member linkage
A deeper look at member linkage and our first issue to offer a “study guide” to help guide board discussions and further study

Issue #4: Summer, 2009

Board decision making
Options and tips for helping board clarify who decides and how to make decisions productively