Ever had someone ask that simple question: What is the board’s job anyway? and wondered where to start? The CDS Consulting Co-op model for cooperative governance, the Four Pillars of Cooperative Governance can help!
We identify four pillars built on a foundation of Cooperative Identity that lead to the success of the cooperative. Each piece helps tell the story of the board’s job.
Just as the member-owners empower and hold the board accountable, the board empowers and holds management accountable for co-op performance. This is usually done by creating expectations and assigning authority to a General Manager and systematically checking performance. We call this work Accountable Empowerment and define it as successfully empowering people while at the same time holding them accountable for the power granted.
The fourth pillar is Democracy which we describe as: Successfully sustaining a culture in which people choose meaningful ways to participate for both individual and common good. The board plays an important role in shaping the meaning of democracy and participation for your co-op.
Grab and Go Governance tips:
- Describe your board as a Cooperative Governance board using components of the Four Pillars model. Take time in your meetings to practice answering the question “What is the board’s job?”
- Use our multi-year planner to build a board workplan using the Four Pillars model.
- Take a look at our sample policies to see how the Four Pillars model can be incorporated into your board’s policies.
- General managers can think about their relationship with their board in terms of the Four Pillars model and then work to enhance the relationship in the context of each of the pillars.
Brought to you by CDS Consulting Co-op GO Team Members
Not pictured: Adam Schwartz