Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Weave, 2022 Vision and Employee Empowerment

Workers of The Weave, it’s entirely up to you. If you want real input to 2022 Vision (which is being presented at each of our Annual Unit Meetings), then read on. If not, sit back, enjoy the raffle, and expect in this coming (and in future) years to continue to be told to work harder, for less.

Don’t get me wrong, the Vision 2022 which Ruffin and my store management team presented with passion was very compelling. But it was theirs. Not ours. They spent the last 6 months designing our destiny for us.

I didn’t waste too much time last evening on my preferred alternative Vision 2022. You can read it elsewhere. And besides, there wasn’t enough time.

I focused on one thing. Trying to get them to understand that sustainability of a 10-year vision in a co-op requires that those you want to implement the vision (your employees) be invested in it. And we employees will only be invested in it, if we had a hand in designing it, and if we then have a hand in deciding how to implement it.

Well, came the retort, this is only the beginning. Hmm. If it’s only the beginning, and nothing is yet set in stone, how come half the meeting was spent with our Store Manager telling us (not inviting, not asking, telling us) that the Vision (which has not yet been finalized) will be implemented by requiring each of us to “raise the bar.”

Er. Sounds like a done deal to me. Also sounds like working harder to me. Forget, for why. I’ve run that argument for so many years I’ve lost count. Today, I’m interested in, says who? In a co-op. Where we are all equal. And decision-making is supposed to be consensual.


Oh well. Never say die. I didn’t. And I proposed three ways of rendering the whole 2022 Vision process a tad more sustainable:

1) Since management insisted 2022 Vision was not yet a done deal, I challenged them on the assertion. Suggested that WSM use Panzanella on Monday evenings, to convene discussion groups of workers and consumers, to consider any and all aspects of planning for the next ten years.

2) Argued that sustainability of implementation required devolution of decision-making to the units and to departments. Once the Vision has been agreed, and overall annual budgets set, let units and departments make all the decisions of implementation themselves. This is not as wild as it sounds.

3) Open up an Online Forum for wider and continuing discussion. A template already exists. It was created back in 2008.

If any part of these suggestions makes any sense to any fellow workers of The Weave (and Panzanella), then go ahead and raise them at your own meetings. Or. Sit back. And wait for diktat …