I can’t say I wasn’t intimidated as I drove up the driveway to attend the Monadnock Food Co-op’s Board Retreat. Here I would “bond” with the people that worked to create a Co-op in the Monadnock Region from the ground up. I had just been approved by the Co-op’s member owners to be a Board Member and I wasn’t sure what to expect.
When I arrived I knew I was in the right place, not just because I didn’t get lost (for once), but because of how I was welcomed. I instantly felt like I was a part of the group, not an outsider. As part of the Board’s orientation and learning process, Marilyn Scholl, a professional Board consultant from CDS Consulting Co-op, was on hand to facilitate the retreat. We settled in to learn about the intricacies of being a Board member, become acquainted with the Board’s Policy Governance Model and review and re-write the Ends Policies.
The Policy Governance Model is an effective way for boards to lead by creating and clarifying expectations by setting standards of performance for staff. Expectations are created by first outlining the Ends Policies. The Ends Policies are designed to be the organizational purpose – similar to a mission statement. John Carver, the creator of the Policy Governance Model writes, “Policy Governance boards demand accomplishment of purpose, and only limit the staff’s available means to those which do not violate the board’s pre-stated standards of prudence and ethics.”
Though that day was long, much was accomplished. Since then I feel we have grown as a Board. Even though much of the information is new to me, I am comfortable asking questions and participating in the discussion. The learning curve is steep but made less so by the other people on the Board.
Board member experiences will be shared through future articles in the co-op’s monthly e-newsletter. Please, if you have any questions about the Board and/or what it means to be a board member please feel free to e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. We as a board will make sure to respond to your comments and find answers to your questions as soon as possible.