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We have been consulting with agribusiness and cooperatives for over 30 years, giving us understanding and insight that is invaluable for our clients. Our experience includes being the senior faculty member for the Cooperative Leadership Seminar, a former senior executive of the Spokane Bank for Cooperatives, and a former member of the faculty at Oregon State University in the Department of Agricultural Economics.

The performance of your cooperative in the next millennium is highly dependent on the strength of its board and CEO alliance. Sometimes, however, undefined roles, inadequate communication, lack of a strategic plan, unclear policies and decision-making boundaries, and other distractions can severely impair the board and CEO alliance. When this occurs, the cooperative organization can experience severe setbacks in performance.

The ability of the board and CEO to mutually understand and respect each other's roles is critical for long-term success. This requires clear definition of their respective duties and decision-making boundaries. In addition, their ability to "think outside of the box", formulate strategy, and execute plans, helps assure long-term profitability, growth, and survival.

A strong alliance between a cooperative's board of directors and its CEO is required in today's fast-paced and dynamic marketplace.

This partnership is the cornerstone for lasting success today and in the next millennium. Start building a stronger and more effective alliance in your cooperative. Guarantee its future . . . now!

The Harvey A. Meier Co. responds to requests from cooperative boards of directors and CEOs for guidance and insight in the following areas:

The Board's Role and Structure

  • Director responsibilities

  • Committee roles and structure

  • Conflict resolution in the boardroom

  • Director selection criteria

  • Role of the chairperson

  • Director liability

The Board and CEO Partnership

  • The CEO's role and responsibilities

  • CEO/board communications

  • Board/employee communications

Governance Practices

  • Conducting effective meetings

  • Evaluating board performance

  • Evaluating CEO performance

  • CEO selection criteria

  • Director compensation

  • CEO compensation

  • Strategic planning

Our team knows what it takes to build and sustain a strong board and top executive alliance. We invite you to discuss governance of your organization with us, always in confidence.

We have facilitated the successful consummation of a merger, consolidation, or acquisition transaction for several companies. The following responsibilities are a part of our role as Consultant Facilitators.

  1. Facilitating negotiations.

  2. Establishing ground rules for negotiation and information exchange.

  3. Facilitating communications, and helping all parties involved separate "fact" from "emotion."

  4. Selecting and building the negotiation team (directors, staff, outside professionals, i.e., attorneys, accountants, etc.).

  5. Assisting with and in the assessment/evaluation of the transaction's economic feasibility.

  6. Making recommendations, i.e., costs/benefits of the deal.

  7. Providing advice on the preparation of the plan of merger, consolidation, or acquisition.

  8. Coaching board chairmen and management on presenting the plan to members at information meetings.

  9. Providing advice on implementing the plan.

The Workplace Environment

Miscommunication, emotional disputes, and conflict are common occurrences in the workplace, costing companies immeasurable amounts of money and countless lost, and unproductive, hours. These situations cause valuable relationships to end in bitterness and anger, with creative and innovative work frequently hindered, or worse, eliminated. This results in the loss of new markets and potential profits, causing damage beyond measure.

Knowing when to call for help is a critical step toward resolving conflict and disputes in the workplace. Mediation can prevent such loss and damage.

Mediation is a process in which a neutral facilitator coaches two or more parties in finding a mutually agreeable solution. Professional mediators help these parties rebuild a "spirit of collaboration" and become "partners" in brainstorming, and designing solutions to their problems. Individuals need guidance with their own negotiations; they don't need someone telling them what to do. Mediation experts facilitate collaborative processes to establish synergy and cohesiveness in the workplace, which leads to the resolution of disputes and conflict.

Warning Signs

Very often, business owners, managers, corporate leaders, and business associates fail to admit their relationships are in trouble until it's too late for them to be saved. Watch for these warning signs of deteriorating relationships:

  1. Individuals involved are avoiding each other. Tension and anxiety is high.

  2. You come to work and find decisions are made without you.

  3. Communication in the workplace begins to be unfriendly, and starts deteriorating.

  4. There is a lot of political maneuvering underway.

  5. Emotional flare-ups, hurt feelings, damaged egos, and arguments are on the rise.

If you are experiencing any of the above, it's time to get outside help to save a troubled situation. Mediators facilitate "getting to the bottom" of a dispute, and help craft a complete and concise resolution. They help you put in motion a plan for resolving conflict.

Our Initiative

We help business owners, managers, corporate leaders, and business associates find solutions to disputes, conflict, and miscommunication.

Communication is the key to an efficient workforce, and highly successful business projects. Typically, miscommunication in the workplace is at the root of a dispute. Once miscommunication factors are identified, the parties to a dispute can be coached to establish true communication. Then, mediating an acceptable solution to the dispute becomes a matter of course.

The human factor plays an instrumental role in initiating and maintaining a dispute, and in creating conflict. Therefore, it is the focal point of our mediation and communication programs.

Our approach to conflict and dispute resolution actively engages individuals in educational and collaborative processes. We utilize state-of-the-art tools to facilitate implementation of "true communication." These tools include employee opinion surveys, job fit and 360 degree feedback assessments, team & individual personality trait and communication analyses, team building exercises, and management retreats.

Here are some examples of the types of disputes for which our Mediation and Communication services are best suited, and have been utilized by our clients:

  • Employee/Employer
  • Employee/Employee
  • Shareholder/Partner
  • CEO/Board
  • Family Business
  • Merger Integration

Implementation of our professional mediation and communication programs can improve efficiency in your workplace, reduce the costs of your operation, enhance company-wide morale, and boost your profits.

Our CEO and CFO Executive Forums are special opportunities for sharing experiences and exchanging ideas. They are comprised of owners, CEOs, CFOs, and controllers of privately held companies, family businesses, and cooperatives. Membership is by invitation only.

Participants meet two to three times a year to help one another resolve critical business and financial problems, explore promising opportunities, share business and financial experiences, learn from expert speakers, and act as a general sounding board for each other, in a "no holds barred," small group environment of total confidentiality.

The CEO and CFO Forums are designed to help members openly share experiences and expertise with a group of their peers in whom they can trust and confide, find solutions to a wide range of issues that could undermine the success of their companies, sidestep mistakes that can result when they "go it alone," and effectively deal with the sense of isolation at the top.

We invite you to contact us for further information about membership in one of our CEO or CFO Executive Forums.

We have assisted several companies in identifying and selecting CEOs, general managers, chief financial officers, sales and marketing managers, plant managers, quality assurance directors, and other key personnel. Our search process follows a thorough, nine-step approach.

  1. Define Your Position's Needs. Leadership qualities, skill-sets, and experience.

  2. Develop Position Description. Duties, responsibilities and qualifications.

  3. Identify Candidates. Prepare recruitment strategy and target selected industries and prospects.

  4. Evaluate Candidates. Assess management style, fit, credentials, and interview candidates.

  5. Present Qualifications. Review fit prior to on-site interviews.

  6. Moderate On-Site Interviews. Facilitate the interview process.

  7. Check References. Coordinate thorough background and reference checks.

  8. Facilitate Selection. Advise on selection, compensation, and employment negotiations.

  9. Follow-up Follow-through. Help facilitate the new manager's smooth transition into the team.

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