December 2016 Board Meeting Minutes

Public Board Minutes for 12/14/16

Present: Anthony, Dan, Grant, Lizzy, Mark (left at 8pm), Emily, Jen, Greg, Larry
Absent: Heather, Karen, Kelly, Mike, Bill, Linn
Guest: Lee Herman
Location: Cafe Chien
Notes: Lizzy
Grant congratulated the Board on a great pop-up market for Thanksgiving that netted 13 new Owners and happy vendors. He also applauded strong volunteer engagement thanks to Hillary, Lisa and Lee.

Grant: FCI fundraising is happening. Should we share on social? Should we donate? Common Grounds is. Emily says left over amount is $100 from cookies, so maybe ask Bill and see if he thinks that’s OK?
Greg says $100-250 seems appropriate.

Site discussion.

Dan: Last time was suggested to go back to previous contacts, that has started. contacting people who are interested in buying buildings or could help us think through that. had one phone call this week and have another next week with a potential developer. treading carefully. can help us think through process and what pieces have to be put together. we have a buildings and we have realtors, we just don’t have buyers. Is there some way we can partner with you in buying a building?

Dan: How far west is too west for us?

Dan: One possible location would require a special-use permit.

Larry: We should continue conversations about this western site.

Anthony: To do a pro forma for it would require a new market study.

Larry: Site should consider it.

Grant: Given that it's west, doesn't have great transportation and is for sale, we should look at the east location.

Mark: perhaps we should consider two-story buildings with escalators and elevators.

Grant: What if we look at smaller sites with expansion possibility. The goal of the conversation is to think of new and creative ideas. We could build an add-on. Gave an example that's 7000 sf with a parking lot behind that could perhaps contain an expansion.

Emily: Should we consider empty lots?

Larry: We'll talk with realtor about these ideas.

Dan: talked with realtor about approaching school buildings that are going to be redeveloped. We’ve looked at 2-3. Some of these ideas (empty lots) don’t help our timeline.

Grant: Bill and I were talking and: we have a few locations with a long timeline. What if, when we had one of those, could we get a deal on a smaller space and run a permanent pop-up in small space and then we have that with our GM and stuff and then while that’s happening we work on the other. Only want to do if we had a signature on a larger space. 

Lee: Speaking as Owner, advantage is discussion in starting out small but a bigger space is on the way. 

Grant: Chicago Market mini.

Jen: It would help us with Ownership growth. It would be a great reason to rock on OLC and give us more leeway to go. 

Greg: We’d have to do it perfectly. Pop-ups are not what our store will be like. I don’t want it to be just like a corner market. It needs to make people super excited for our next store. Our GM may not have time to do something else. Same amount of work as "real store" so we want to be careful.

Anthony: Came up with perfect small space, then the GM would have less to do. In the spirit of crazy ideas, it’s worth pursuing the idea. 

Financial discussion.

Grant: People need to commit to looking at the financials; asked Greg to commit this time as Bill did not present in meeting. 

Jen: MORE meeting working with Bill to get budget better defined. Emily has started template, and Bill will be adapting into a standard Board document for each team and that would include operational costs. Bill will include this in the Board docs.

Jen discussed the payment plan.

Jen: Lee is now webmaster. This week Grant and Malcom discussed payment plan on website. Would like to make user experience better. Long ago there was discussion about how much we promote the plan with cashflow and PayPal fees. Missing Bill’s data about how many people take the payment plan. Grant says historical average is 15% of Owners take payment plan. Question for discussion: how visible should the payment plan be? Seems like it should be visible, and maybe conversations with Bill about whether we eat the PayPal fee.

Anthony: At that time we were more concerned about cashflow. We’ve learned this is less important than Owner growth. So there’s no reason not to.

Emily: We should make the payment plan more visible.

Lizzy: It's more aligned with our values to make it visible. 

Board agrees we should make it more visible. We will discuss later how to handle the payment plan fee - Jen to investigate actual fee amounts with Bill and report back.

Grant discussed the Leadership Team.

Grant: Has met twice. Meeting every 2 weeks. Met once with Esther for help, Karen has been meeting, but will step off when she’s not MORE project lead. We need a tracking tool. Google doc exists and each team (active/nonactive) will have one. When each team meets, they need to use this doc to start their meeting and update it consistently. Included relationships because all teams ought to be thinking about significant relationships. Big thing is risks/issues and status column that is red. We’ll do a brief Q&A. You would fill it out, and here’s the demo. This will roll up to a dashboard for the leadership team who can look at it and see where there are fires and respond. Goal is not to look at all the details, but to get birds eye view.

Emily: If a team is in trouble, what will the Leadership Team do?

Grant: LT will figure out who’s not doing what and hold people accountable. 

Anthony: Things have been over complicated and not kept up with. I’m nervous and it duplicates every to-do on basecamp. Want to be careful about duplicating work.

Emily: Milestones would be what the teams BC projects would be. 

Anthony: This is too much work. And people have historically not followed through.

Jen - We need to be transparent, clear, and organized. If we have 40 things we’re working on, then maybe we need to be more focused.
Grant - This is brutal honesty. What have I delivered on? What have I not delivered on? 
Jen - Theoretically it’s driving agendas, accountability, etc. 
Grant - We can learn from it. And the LT has to have a way to learn from everyone, and not by rummaging around on BC for everyone. 
Larry - Who does this?
Grant - Whoever is leading the team meeting, and this is basically a document that they should be filling out in the meeting. 
Jen - There isn’t one person who can commit to being that person all the time on MORE, and so we’re still trialling process boss. Each team can figure out how to fill this out. 
Emily - Kelly said I can be process boss but can’t also being doing that.  Which is real. This is a lot of work, and so we need to be real about something else. 
Lizzy - Everyone can figure out their own way to do it.
Grant - Idle teams don’t have to re-do all their work all the time. And replaces timeline that no one can get into. In board meetings, LT will start off with their high-level overview. 
Dan - Everyone reviews team check-ins. So without that, how do each of us know what every other team is doing?
Grant - They don't have to be private, and we can start each meeting with an overview.
Anthony - Make it optional pre-reading. 
Emily - There is work and feedback coming between board meetings yes?
Grant - Yes of course. Just starting off the board meeting. 
Greg - Constantly updated in real time yes?
Grant - Yes. Each person can see what everyone is doing up to date all the time.
No other questions.

Grant: LT would like to make a proposed amendment to our charter for LT. Add bullet to how they lead "Board health & development - keeping Board members engaged; ensuring Board members have defined roles and accountability; considering possible future Board members".
Dan: We’re looking at teams more than individuals.
Greg: If, for example, Board meetings really suck - how do we fix it? Those kind of conversations would be health. In terms of development, are we talking about how to replace the person who is moving in 6 months? Even long term, do we need to think about what kind of board we have? 
Grant: Purpose isn’t always to do those things, but just make sure they get to the board. 
Anthony: Are the minutes for the LT posted?
Grant: Yes they will be. 
Lee: Benefit you didn’t highlight - if a board member has an issue, this clearly signals this is where the issue goes.
Lacking a quorum, Grant’s going to do the vote on BC.

Jen discussed the strategy document.

Jen: You have a handout of our new proposed language. When we met in November, we presented a revised purpose statement. We got some feedback (captured on cover sheet). We’ve changed purpose statement, no changes to vision or tagline. We are currently presenting the values. This conversation is not about wordsmithing, mostly about content. Is anything missing? (Went through each one of the values).
Ownership is number one.
Sustainability more general because it can look like all different things.
Relationships description focuses on supply chain - maybe that’s not right.
Accountability captures transparency as well.
Joy represents the part of our conversation at the offsite about the feelings.

Dan: Sustainability is other kinds of things, very focused on hard things. should include other kinds of sustainability. Relationships definitely should include other kinds of relationships.
Anthony: We are missing social justice especially economic diversity.
Lizzy: How strong can our justice language be?
Anthony: You are more likely to inspire people with stronger values. These are basis for marketing campaigns.
Greg: We should include the co-op values (self-help, solidarity, etc.). Stronger language about justice; this ought to be the place where we include our most out there value. Saying the international co-op values is powerful.
Anthony: "Sharing food" building a community through sharing food. The joy is not eating, it’s sharing and eating in community. Joy is about community.
Greg: Great tasting food is important because co-ops sometimes have bad food.
Jen: These don’t replace purchasing values. 
Greg: Joy looks like the least exciting. 
Anthony: Page space wise, we look like we just like a lot of rules. 

Dan: What do we do with these?
Jen: These are guide rails for our behavior and personality as an organization. At offsite, we talked about tangible things in the store. These values guide that. Document is a funnel. Values start to shape our why. Share internally and externally. Share with volunteers. Guide hiring decisions for GM. Publicly post.
Grant: Purpose of some of these. If we had sat down with architecture, our board was not on the same page such that one person could represent us. Hope was that what comes out of this can inform site team as they go through next steps. Does this help site search? Does this help GM search?
Anthony: What is the confusion that we couldn’t solve before?
Lizzy: Purpose was not the paper, we might not have been able to solve problems without us on the same page intellectually.
Lee - When I worked for Geico, 5 disciplines were super important and relevant. This document helps us internalize our attitude and values. Owners should know them, and maybe even shoppers should be aware of them. Anyone who furthers our business should know them.
Grant: Should live beyond this set of board members.
Anthony: What disagreement/priority might we have had that might not have been a disagreement or discussion? 
Larry: Do you trust them more now that you have this?
Grant: What do you we do with the specifics?
Jen: We discussed mandatories vs. features & differentiators. Organized the latter under community, education, inspiration, and accessibility. These are the starter lists to start talking about means/ends. We don’t have enough information to prioritize the tactical features/diffs. 
Grant: Karen texted: "another point was getting all of us to know and understand our strategic points and differentiations" from everyone else? What is/are our key differentiators?
Jen: Part of the doc was: What makes us different from traditional grocers? Traditional co-ops? We left it out because we thought it was more marketing. What differentiates us from other stores? These values. What differentiates us from other co-ops? More updated and modern. That’s not a value, more of a way of being.
Lizzy: I think that’s captured in better.
Grant: What are the 3 main bullets they have to build us a store?
Greg: Why 3? Why can’t it be 40? All the things we want in the store?
Jen: Does this paint a picture of who CM is?
Lee: Sentence was one sentence.
Lizzy: It’s in the vision: better food community, local, sustainable, connected.
Over time.

Jen agrees to further the discussion on BC. 

Anthony: when we do it on BC, let’s parse it out in pieces.
Emily: Structure. Define value. Say what we do. Helps for marketing.
Greg: Relationships should be first, not Ownership. It draws people in.

Grant adjourned the meeting. 


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