Mission & Values

Original co-op

The original Co-op.

The mission of the Hornby Island Co-operative is to improve the social and economic position of member-owners and the community by providing goods and services within an environmentally and socially responsible, financially sound, co-operative structure.

1. Legislation – To direct the Association according to governing legislation and regulations and the Association’s rules.

2. Board of Directors – To develop Directors into effective leaders who can work together, on behalf of the members, in guiding the Co-operative.

3. General Management – To have general management that will respond to and facilitate the transfer and implementation of ideas to achieve an effective co-operative.

4. Human Resources – To employ capable staff who are motivated to participate actively in the pursuit of the Co-operative’s objectives, and to provide opportunities for their development and advancement, a safe work environment, fair employment practices and recognition of the staff role in the co-operative’s success.

5. Finance – To be financially viable on local operations and to generate returns that ensure fiscal and future economic viability and development of the co-operative.

6. Marketing – To continually evaluate our members’ needs and wants, and clearly identify those market segments within which we want to provide facilities, goods and services which develop quality, service and convenience that encourages member confidence and commitment to their Co-operative.

7. Community Responsibility and Involvement – To develop and promote the Co-operative as a valuable and integral part of the life of the community.

8. Member Relations – To encourage member involvement and commitment to the Co-operative through ongoing member education, communication and provision of opportunities for participation.

9. Co-operative Retailing System – To participate in the ongoing development and rationalization of the Co-operative Retailing System, where appropriate.

10. Co-operation With Other Co-operatives – To promote the Co-operative movement by assisting and supporting other Co-operatives and by working with them in areas of mutual concerns and benefits, where appropriate.

11. Service – To promote a commitment to service that enhances the shopper’s experience and gives dignity to both shopper and employee.

12. Concern for the Environment – To embody and promote the principles of environmental care and respect, including REDUCE, REUSE and RECYCLE, in all aspects of the Co-operative’s activities.

HI Co-operative’s Management Philosophy

The Co-op is arguably the Island’s most emblematic social and economic institution. Management is the Co-op’s most critical asset in ensuring our survival. The Board recognizes that management is its most important asset. Management sets the tone, provides the leadership and makes business decisions. We need good management to build the HI Co-op brand.

The Board reviewed the Hornby Island Co-op’s management style. The Board’s purpose was twofold. The first was to familiarize itself with the management system and to examine its strengths and weaknesses. Second, the Board studied its options and determined its preferences for a future direction. This paper points to the Board’s conclusions about how it will move forward.

The Co-op’s management style is Team Management, a highly participative process. For 16 years the Hornby Island Co-op has operated under the direction of a management team overseen by a team coordinator, Phoebe Long. The Management Team is composed of the general manager and the Team Managers in charge of groceries, hardware, gas bar and administration. The Team is responsible for the store’s day-to-day operations including the hiring and firing of staff, brain-storming ways to improve sales. The Team’s internal responsibility is broad.

Team Management operates on a collegial, collaborative, egalitarian and consultative basis. It emphasizes group decision-making. It focuses upon building consensus that can be implemented with the Team’s commitment. Information and points of view are exchanged at weekly team meetings. The Team Manager functions as the Team’s coordinator as well as a general manager, who is empowered to make all managerial decisions.

The participative management philosophy is not confined to the Management Team. At the departmental level the involvement in decision-making need not be as extensive, but each staff member should be encouraged to contribute to contribute to goal setting and problem solving in his/her area of work.

The Co-op in the mid-90s adopted team management because the pressure and complexity of running this highly seasonal co-op was burning out general managers. It is a unique innovation that reflects the Island’s culture and the nature of our workforce. Team Management was intended to provide a way of managing the Co-op that is consistent with its manager maintaining a work life that is in keeping with the Island’s lifestyle.

Team Management encourages storewide communication, broadens knowledge of the operation, and builds greater understanding of management areas of responsibility. The Team has produced a very good staff from a largely local workforce. The Co-op has coped with staff turnover and successions by producing workers who are committed and able to assume new roles. The United Food and Commercial Workers represents the Co-op’s employees.

The Co-op is subject to external forces such as rough economic conditions, vagaries of weather, declining ferry service and rising ferry fares, and big box store competition. We need a management system that can adapt to circumstances and bring about change. The Board seeks to push for organizational stability and operating efficiency. We seek to cultivate an entrepreneurial and service focus among the staff. The Board views this management style as one that enhances the Co-op’s chance of survival as an organization and serves its members and the community. It also makes the Co-op an attractive place to work.

The Board believes that the consensual model is sustainable. The Board wants a successor to our current manager to be a person who embraces team management. The Team Manager should provide leadership that is consistent with Co-op values.

The model is not absolute. If the matter has been aired without the Team arriving at a consensus, the Team Manager has the power to decide. Team Management should not be used to block change or to protect vested interests. Moreover, on matters apart from the operation of the Co-op, the Team Manager operates managerially. The Team Manager is the face of the Co-op, representing us to external actors, e.g. FCL, other Island co-ops, government, the union, membership, and to the community. The Team Manager’s role is complex involving collaborative and clearly managerial functions.

In order for a participatory philosophy to work optimally, it is important to recognize the possible challenges of team management. Decisions can take longer. Good ideas can be blocked for reasons having little to do with business and more with resistance to change. The Co-op needs to be actively managed to prevent it from sliding into a comfortable status quo. In an organization with the team management philosophy, goal setting and performance management are essential. The HI Co-op needs a commitment to envisioning and implementing needed changes, as well as making individuals aware of their strengths and weaknesses in reaching goals, be those behavioural or operational.