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    • #8018
      Jen BudneyJen Budney
      Participant

      Hi folks – let’s see if we can use this thread to talk about best practices and/or what you do in your own organizations.

      How does your co-operative get people on the same page? How do you coordinate members? The board? Staff?

      What systems of authority or communication do you use manage strategic interdependencies?

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    • #8036
      Kathy LittleKathy Little
      Participant

      Our local co-op focuses on delivering a common following our mission, vision and goals. When a decision is made whether at the board level or operationally it is made with a view to alignment with these values.

      Communication of strategic interdependencies starts with recruitment, and continues through training, meetings, newsletters, strategic planning sessions.

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    • #8056
      Jen BudneyJen Budney
      Participant

      Thanks, Kathy! So, when there are disagreements on the board, are you saying you fall back to the overarching values of the organization in order to make a decision?

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    • #8058
      Lori SandersLori Sanders
      Participant

      I think that “getting everyone on the same page” starts at the Board level. Our Board worked together to develop our Vision, Mission and Values Statements (which are reviewed – not changed – annually). These are placed in every staff room and in every communication in our retail. These statements are lived by our Executive management and filter down to front line staff and to our members as well. We strive to be “the retailer of choice” in our market and it is working in our community.

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    • #8071
      Janet TaylorJanet Taylor
      Participant

      At Libro shared values drive us, from our Owners right through to the Board and management. As an organization everything we do is focused on our Why. Following along the path of Simon Sinek and Start with Why, we involved our staff, directors and Owner Representatives in creating our Why, How and What statements post-merger in 2014. We are personally invested in our Why and it appeals to many in the community who later become involved with our credit union. We may disagree on certain points but as long as we focus on Why Libro exists we will follow the right path.

      We also have very strong group norms. In fact, the board took time last year to discuss group norms in the boardroom. These are being woven into every interaction as well as more formal things like the code of conduct. This helps us know how we should behave.

      Shared values, group norms and strong culture are what keep us moving forward. I have heard us called a cult by some. I take that to mean that we do in fact have the values, norms and culture we’re looking for; it just isn’t right for everyone.

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    • #8079
      Jen BudneyJen Budney
      Participant

      Thanks for mentioning, Sinek, Janet — for those who aren’t familiar with his work, there are many, many videos of his talks on YouTube and TEDtalks. One of his major focuses is how to get everyone on the same page, which is important for co-op boards *and for co-op federations, as we have discussed in relation to this case study of FCL.

      Here’s a 5 minute clip of him talking about “starting with ‘why'” – which Janet mentions:

      He also has numerous books, which you may want to check out.

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    • #8082
      Paul HamesPaul Hames
      Participant

      Like others I believe that the Board has a vital role in establishing and communicating the values and goals of the organization. Our Board meets annually to review our strategic plan. The plan is also reviewed against goals at each Board meeting. We also meet twice a year socially as a Board. I believe these additional get togethers that include our partners help establish a culture of trust and common direction. Board members also are involved throughout the year with staff and members.
      As an example we hold a staff appreciation barbecue in the summer where every staff member receives a bonus and a small gift.

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    • #8116
      Kathy LittleKathy Little
      Participant

      Hi Jen when there there is disagreement, we do engage in a discussion. Part of this discussion would include looking to see if the project or plan align with our values of integrity, excellence, responsibility and community. We would ask the question if we make this decision does it fit with these values? If we can say yes, then we would agree; if there was a no, we would discuss and see if there was a way we could change or amend the project, if there wasn’t then we wouldn’t go ahead.

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    • #8158
      Jen BudneyJen Budney
      Participant

      Thanks for sharing this, Kathy! It’s very helpful. Not all boards know how to work through disagreement.

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    • #8302
      Cheryl WallaceCheryl Wallace
      Participant

      Thanks for mentioning Sinek above. I really resonate with his stuff and have used it in my own work and work with the credit union. Our board has decision making framework and also focuses on our vision, mission and values. These are reviewed regularly. When more challenging subjects are discussed we try to have additional resources to provide more education and information. It could a speaker or articles or management or a board member. Discussion is important to understand perspectives. When it is a highly critical discussion we do a round table rather than just some weighing in.

      I truly believe this has to be a process that is evolving depending on the situation / the board members / economy and etc.

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Janet Taylor (Corporate Secretary)

Libro Credit Union

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Arctic Co-operatives Limited

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Sherwood Co-op

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