Keys to our culture

By Robert Farris, Chairman and President at CoNimby Foundation

In order to achieve happiness one must balance their Faith, Family, and Finances. At The Ohio Cooperative happiness is a journey we all must take. In order to foster that journey we had to develop key structural policies. In this presentation we will take a short glance at the 6 keys to our cooperative culture. These key components will not only guide the behavior and actions of our workers, but also set a foundation for their journey to happiness.

Our first key is: Worker-ownership.

Worker-ownership refers to the organizational structure of ownership of a company by its workers. When workers acquire cooperative share directly, they become direct owners, and can exercise all the rights associate with ownership, including share of the company’s equity value and voting rights.

Our second key is: Democratic control.

Democratic control refers to the organizational structure where worker-owners actively participate and serve as elected representatives. The Ohio Cooperative Workers’ Council is our elected body of representatives that ensure the cooperative is performing profitably and focused on its’ mission.

Our third key is: Horizontal team-based.

A horizontal team-based structure allows our teams to have direct ownership of the wins they accomplish. Allowing teams to win will allow our organization to eliminate wasteful processes and designs while being increasingly flexible to accomplish our goals and rapidly respond to client needs.

Our fourth key is: Diversity and inclusiveness.

Inclusiveness is the component that makes diversity work. One without the other is a losing battle. One of our most important advantages is the ability to learn from and accept different cultural perspectives. These perspectives allow our teams to harness the power of our differences to drive innovation.

Our fifth key is: Digital workplace.

Our digital workplace is founded on the art of telecommuting. Majority of our non-specific location based positions are telecommuting. Meaning our teams utilize our toolbox of software technology to create the virtual equivalent of a physical office workplace. Teams can operative from any location.

Our sixth key is: Charitable giving.

Charitable giving is a hallmark our work. Through our many grant-making foundations our worker-owners are proud to support the needs of our community by proving grants to local charity organizations that align with the goals and guidelines of the specified community grant program.

The foundation on which these key components sit is our vision of: Helping workers be more successful. It’s a broad vision that will guide us strategically to develop the best worker-owner opportunity in the world.


Schein, E. H. (1995), The Role of the Founder in Creating Organizational Culture. Family Business Review, 8: 221–238. doi:10.1111/j.1741-6248.1995.00221.x

Schwartz, H. and Davis, S.M. (1981) Matching Corporate Culture and Business Strategy. Organizational Dynamics, 10, 30-48.

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