Assisting co-operatives and social enterprises with governance issues is an area in which CAN excels. We often find that problems reported to us in areas such as HR, conflict or barriers to growth are actually symptoms of a fault in the governance of the enterprise, a fault which the Members or Directors may or may not be aware of or which may have been ignored, sometimes for many years.
CAN takes the approach that good governance comes first at all stages of development. If there is a problem with governance then there will always be some level of conflict in the enterprise. An enterprise that is well governed is perceived to be more competent, reliable, honest, good to do business with, good to work for and good to be a member of.
One of our most popular training workshops is Directors Roles workshop. This includes understanding the duties and responsibilities of directorship and those of the Company or Society Secretary. This workshop is good for startups, when all the Founder Members can go through it together. The workshop can be fine tuned to the clients' needs. It can also be used by existing co-ops to train their Members for directorship.
We also run a Good Governance workshop, which takes governance to the next level and includes governance & management, informed membership, policy making and setting strategy.
Social Enterprises and Community Businesses have multiple stakeholders and their governance systems are designed to balance the interests of all the stakeholder groups. We can help a startup carry out a stakeholder analysis so that you get it right from the start and we can help existing social businesses carry out a stakeholder review and help rebalance stakeholder influence.
Some larger or older co-ops develop complex problems involving, for example, competing interests within the membership, increasingly complex relationships between the co-op and the members, uncertainty about the legal form or contractual relationships, uncertainty about ownership or rights of Members and Directors or seemingly intractable conflict. Sometimes deep problems like these are not initially recognised and only come to light as a result of investigating difficulties in other areas of work. Our troubleshooting service can help co-ops and social enterprises held back by governance issues like this identify the problems and deal with them, with an immediate emphasis on preventing further damage.
Because CAN is and has always been a Workers' Co-operative, we are specialists in the governance of co-operatives in general and workers' co-ops in particular. We walk the walk as well as talk the talk. We understand that governance of a co-op or a community business is not the same as running a commercial company, that governance has more dimensions to it and that ultimately it all comes down to interpersonal dynamics.
We understand how the Co-operative Principles are at the heart of co-operative governance and how they are best embedded in the operating system of a co-operative.
Because we are a Social Enterprise, we understand that governance involves balancing social objectives against financial objectives and how this can be achieved in a surprisingly wide variety of legal forms and business models.
So, if we may be able to help you set your governance up correctly, train your Members for directorship or troubleshoot your governance problems, make contact.