The Way Your Co-op Board Functions
The Board of Directors represents the member-owners’ interests in the operation of the store and the broader vision of the Co-op.
The Weavers Way Board uses the Policy Governance model to structure their activities and dictate how they relate to the General Manager and the member-owners.
What Is the Work of the Board?
Our governing style emphasizes strategic leadership and a clear distinction between Board and General Manager duties. The Board focuses primarily on intended long-term impacts rather than the operational means of attaining them. To accomplish this, the Board directs, controls and inspires the organization through the establishment of the broadest organizational values and policies. When we receive input, questions or concerns that relate to Co-op operations, we ask that the General Manager respond. Honesty, openness, and member input — these are key cooperative values and principles that guide the Board.
What is Policy Governance?
Policy Governance is a model developed by John Carver, a writer who has published extensively on board governance. Many food co-ops have moved to this system, as it allows us to balance representing member-owner views with allowing the store professional staff to fulfill member-owner requirements without micromanagement.
Board leadership requires, above all, that the Board provide vision. To do so, the Board must first have an adequate vision of its own job. That role is best conceived neither as volunteer-helper nor as watchdog, but as trustee-owner. Policy Governance is an approach to the job of governing that emphasizes values, vision, empowerment of both Board and staff, and the strategic ability to lead.
Observing the principles of the Policy Governance model, the Board has crafted its values into policies contained in one central, brief, document. The Board is continually assessing the relevance of its policies and how effective they are at achieving the goals of the Co-op.