Friday, 05 March 2021 14:34

Lifting leadership skills of co-op leaders

Written by  Sudesh Kissun
Around 70% of New Zealand cooperatives are in the rural sector. Around 70% of New Zealand cooperatives are in the rural sector.

Cooperative Business New Zealand (CBNZ) has expanded its governance training offering this year.


It says this is in response to the need for ensuring New Zealand’s cooperative shareholder governors (who often sit across multiple boards) have the right skill sets to be effective.

There are two courses specifically tailored to the co-operative model for aspiring / future directors:

  • A one-day introduction programme hosted by Westlake Governance.
  • The Cooperative Governance Development Programme - a course completed over six months that includes workshops, coaching, mentoring and remote learning. Applications are open until Monday 15 March and small to medium businesses may quality for funding of up to 50% for participants.

In addition, it is offering courses for current sitting directors:

  • A two-day programme for current co-operative governors
  • Workshop for “Chairing a Co-operative Board”.

Around 70% of New Zealand cooperatives are in the rural sector.

 CBNZ says providing training that is specifically tailored to the cooperative model is a priority for the organisation.

“While a cooperative has many similarities to other business models, there are nuances and complexities,” it says.

“The courses offered, in partnership with leading governance trainers, aim to address these issues to help governors be more effective board contributors.”

One of the key differences of a co-op is that shareholders are also the custodians of the business. Ensuring shareholder governors have the right skill sets to sit at the table, of what in many cases are large commercial operations, is an ongoing focus for these businesses.

“The current environment has very much highlighted the risks and challenges boards are facing,” says CBNZ.

“Our members are focused on long-term viability so they are taking an active role in succession planning. They are encouraging the development of these skills early, starting with the shareholder base. 

“We are finding more boards now focusing on diversity of thought, with members recognising that having a variety of perspectives is beneficial in addressing issues and achieving better outcomes.”

More information on governance training is available on its website.

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