Sustaining Cooperative Operations

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Foremost, I would like to congratulate cooperatives that sustained cooperative operations and reached another milestone in their existence as juridical entities. The success cannot be attributed to a single individual but the collective efforts of all involved in the process like the members, officers, staff and stakeholders.

Recognition is due to all the pioneer members that capitalized the first operations; the staff, officers and members that took the burden of working together under the concept of volunteerism. The sacrifices and commitment to be of service to mankind bore fruits and we owe to those who persevered in carrying out gargantuan tasks.

Cooperative operations like other business entities cannot be sustained without planned strategies. Each cooperative through its Board of Directors, Chief Executive Officer and other officers and staff have various approaches to attain organizational growth and development. Involvement of members and stakeholders further enhances such strategies toward realization of established goals and objectives.

Allow me to share some observations that I noticed in our dealings with different cooperatives from micro, small, medium and large cooperatives. It might not be perfect or absolute practices but these contributed to increased assets and revenues.

Some cooperatives continually build on what they have. Constant improvement in their respective policies and services provide opportunities for growth and support from members. As cooperatives invest in physical properties business development enhancing operations can be simultaneously undertaken. Monitoring strengths and weaknesses and introducing innovations can bolster operations given periodic review of vision, mission and goal statements (VMG). Aligning changes in plans and programs that lead to attainment of VMG is crucial.

It must be emphasized that while innovations are introduced in the cooperative, the welfare of member users should be considered. The implications on the changes in policies and procedures should ensure protection and encourage high patronage of businesses offered by the cooperative.

Assessment of cooperative operations using developed tools can help improve effective and efficient service delivery. Harnessing the presence of some tools incorporated in reportorial and monitoring forms like the COOP-PESOS for credit cooperatives, PISO for all types of cooperatives, Governance and Management Report (GMAR), Social Audit and soon to be introduced enhancements of reportorial requirements may help cooperatives be competitive with other business entities.

In the course of business operations, cooperatives are monitored and inspected annually by CDA. Such activity can be an opportunity for cooperatives to engage the services of technical persons from CDA on matters affecting their respective operations. Feedbacks can be provided to the inspectors as the discussions can be freely undertaken. Some queries often reach the CDA-CAR Region given the observations that some cooperatives leaders tend to practice “wait and see” attitude. The trust and openness of some cooperative leaders are yet to be realized especially in areas where people are hesitant to bring out development challenges being encountered.

Equally important is the need to develop a corporate culture that promotes transparency, accountability, fairness, integrity and humility. Having an atmosphere that promotes equality and competent manpower with the right attitude towards work and fellow employees ensure sustained growth.

A cooperative that encourages growth of the enterprise with committed employees that love and enjoy their jobs discourages turn-over. This can help the business attain targets as lesser time and resource to train newly hired employees. As employees align personal growth to improvement of business their potentials to contribute to innovations can pave the way for well-oiled machinery that can ignite new business concepts and reinventing of existing technologies.

Indeed, cooperatives can attain established visions and missions given united and innovative people adhering to the importance of cooperation, collaboration and consultation. Given favorable environment where employees grow, the significance of business focus can yield results. It is then necessary that planned strategies are clearly stated and must be monitored and assessed by all concerned. Key Performance Indicators are then important as basis in measuring attainment of planned interventions.

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