Promises

Again, the opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of…me. This is my blog, this is my voice. Still, I will rarely claim to be the authority on things; rather, I will encourage others to research and find out for themselves. I would love to live in a world where I know best and make decisions that are flawless, and speak in ways that are inspirational and grand and where everyone listens to me–but that is not here, not now, not me…so for now I will start with the disclaimer that I don’t know it all. Thank you, and enjoy.

Promises have been broken. Give me proof, you say! I have not been made promises, me personally. (wait a minute: I am referring to my work-life here; in brief, I work at a member-owned cooperative grocery store; we recently came under new management, and things are spiraling downward, in my opinion; hence my using this daily-prompt exercise to address my frustrations and concerns at work) But I have heard from co-workers. One told me that she was promised a promotion to a supervisory position, it was coming soon…until the promise was rescinded and no real explanation was given.

Our new(ish)  general manager tells us he is here to stay, but we will see. His last 15 or so years are full of two-year stints at different companies. Maybe he’ll change his ways with us, maybe not.

He tells us his door is always open and he is there to listen. But I have heard him basically tell people that the opinion they expressed was wrong; I have heard him lie to a roomful of member-owners. He has told us what a great guy he is, rather than just being who he is and allowing us to form our own opinions.

In a more general sense, but also in the bigger picture, the new management team….Okay, let me give some background: We are a member-owned natural and organic food cooperative. The board of directors hired a general manager in December 2015 who came from a conventional, corporate background; he hired a guy to be the operations manager who is from the same corporate lineage; they then hired a store manager for one of our stores, again from the same corporate background; and now have done so again…

So I was going to point out that these guys each arrived saying that they wanted a switch from the mis-treating corporate mindset they came from. But they have engaged in that exact type of behavior. They have not embraced the cooperative culture of respect, mutuality, openness, education, fairness and diversity. They have done mostly the opposite, made decisions quickly and without input; hired more of the same, and without the traditional due diligence of posting positions and holding interviews; they have suppressed dissent; they have appointed people to positions but neglected to supply the necessary training or education.

In this sense, they have broken promises. In this big-picture sense, they have betrayed the culture, the spirit of the organization. A cooperative is based on principles that go far beyond the financial. And in my opinion, the cooperative promise has been broken, trampled and discarded.

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