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 customer service, in our strategies, in our partnerships, and in our innovative approaches to solving pressing social problems.  Democracy is hard. And because it is [...]

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 my consulting practice, I sometimes lead activities designed to get people thinking and talking about cooperative values and principles. I’d never accuse my clients of [...]

The Power of Board Perpetuation Planning

Board perpetuation is a key task for directors, and actively pursuing it throughout the year (and every year) creates a powerful influence in the quality of board work. The first step is having a strong list of potential candidates before the election cycle. There are a variety of components to [...]

Creating Cooperative Resiliency

By Thane Joyal #187 Nov.-Dec 2016 Conflict happens. Co-ops have always faced conflict, whether in the boardroom, in member meetings, through social media and email, in the aisles or out in front of the store. This article is intended to equip co-ops to prepare for conflict and strengthen our democracy [...]

Video Field Guide: Introduction to the Four Pillars

Succinct introduction to the Four Pillars of Cooperative Governance: Teaming, Accountable Empowerment, Democracy and Strategic Leadership, and how these concepts strengthen co-ops and communities. This video is a fantastic resource for board training and team-building sessions.

Reinventing our Cooperative Democracy: A Conversation

By Art Sherwood, Todd Wallace 175 November-December 2014 In 2013, the International Cooperative Alliance, in its “Blueprint for a Cooperative Decade,” identified the elevating of participation as a key component of its 2020 Vision for more and stronger cooperatives. The “Blueprint” states that, “Democratic member participation is the best-known feature [...]

Democracy: Creating Equitable Member Benefits

Open Harvest Lincoln, Neb. Open Harvest is a medium-sized food co-op in an older mixed neighborhood in Lincoln, Neb. They have strong support for the co-op in their area, and have 2,800 members. Yet one of the things holding them back is that the discounts they currently offer members [...]

By |March 2nd, 2014|Categories: Connections, EXPORT|Tags: , |

Case Study: Practicing Democracy in Viroqua

Viroqua Food Co-op Viroqua, Wis. Year founded: 1995 Number of members: 3,025 Member investment: $75 per adult, $150 household Retail square feet: 4,400 Number of employees: 58 The Viroqua Food Co-op is located in rural Wisconsin in a town surrounded by the gorgeous hills of the state’s Driftless region. It’s [...]

By |January 1st, 2014|Categories: Case Studies, EXPORT, Solutions|Tags: , |

Co-ops: Where Democracy, Community, and Sustainability Meet

Bill Gessner, Co-op Development Consultant CDS Consulting Co-op Minneapolis, MN   Widely known throughout the food co-op community, Mr. Gessner has travelled the country helping grow co-ops and start new ones.  His experience gives him a unique insight into the strengths and the potential of the cooperative movement.