Maintaining our partnerships: vendor review
By Karen Schieler, CCA Vice President
Many of us face an employee review once a year. And even if you don’t have a formal process at your cooperative, checking in with your leaders, teammates or others in your organization’s leadership is important.
Sometimes – if you are like me – these reviews can be nerve wracking. Even though I feel like I do a good job, sometimes the feedback on how to do a better job can be daunting. Most of the time, the stress leading up to the meeting has been worse than the actual outcome.
Over time, and maybe with a little bit of age, I have learned this annual process is always a good touch base: a time for me to reflect on the past year and to set goals for the future. This two-way conversation is a time to reconnect.
Creating a process
Reflection, goal setting and reconnection is the same approach your CCA Board took when we embarked on the journey of creating a vendor review process. It was a way for CCA and our vendors to remain accountable to each other.
Your CCA Board changes yearly with each election cycle, so it is important we enact processes and structures that allow the new directors to pick up and manage CCA with ease. This allows us to keep moving forward.
Our biggest vendor is Atlas Management Resources Inc. Atlas works under the direction of the CCA Board to manage the day-to-day operations of the organization. This allows the Board to create and focus on strategic directions.
The Atlas team provides the volunteer board with a central hub to operate CCA, providing a consistent approach to the organization. For example, the Board and education committee come up with topics for webinars, and Atlas completes the details of coordinating times, sending out member notifications and setting up call-in numbers. For big missions, like the annual Institute and contest, Atlas handles contract, logistics and other tasks that allows the Board to focus on leading CCA.
We completed their first review in 2018. To embark on this, the board reviewed our relationship in five areas: leadership support, general administration, membership support, marketing and communications, and event management and educational support.
The overall final rating was “on target,” meaning:
- Work is fully satisfactory.
- Consistently meets standards.
- Represents expected level of services.
- Work is completed on time.
However, your Board learned a major lesson in this process: WE needed to do better in several areas. It was an eye-opening exercise.
The past few years have been challenging for your Board. We tackled the challenges of creating a new website, making tough decisions on Institute changes, recruiting new members, changing traditions, creating a communications plan, and keeping us all connected and active.
Your Board values the relationship we have with the team at Atlas Management Resources. It is important we all understand the relationship is a two-way partnership. We want to be a good client to Atlas. They want to provide us with good service.
It’s important we have solid, committed and dependable partners. The annual reviewing of all contracts and vendor relationships will help lead to our success as an organization.
As our cooperatives continue to change, and our jobs become more demanding, service to CCA cannot be pushed back. It remains a very important priority to the members of the Board.
Many hands makes a light load. I know each and every Board member is carrying their weight. Atlas carries its weight as well.
Your Board intends to continue to use this review process with all our vendors to make sure we are maintaining a good partnership.
But, more importantly, the vendor process should unify us and all that we work with… to make CCA the best it can be. All of our vendors must believe in making CCA the BEST.
Together, we can … Connect. Create. Achieve.