Members' Council Column: "Talking with each other, instead of about each other"

June 23, 2022
Cooperation
Column
‘’The weather was glorious the other day, on 16 June 2022. Around midday, it was at least 25 degrees. And I live close to the sea. So you know what I did that day? Exactly! I took the car in the other direction. To Aalsmeer.

Using energy for change

Why did I do that? Oh yes, you might be nodding now, the Day of the Cooperative! And that's right. I could have been on the beach. Or a more realistic scenario: I could have been on the farm. Because it's busy enough these days. But I didn't. I drove to Aalsmeer with love and pleasure.

But why then? To explain that properly, you need to know why I became a member of the Members’ Council about eighteen months ago. My image of the auction was: they do nothing, it is a silly club, what should I do with it? Then I saw a call for new members of the Members’ Council. I thought for a long time: it will take my time. But suddenly I knew: I'm signing up. Because I can sit at home feeling dissatisfied, but that won't get me anywhere. The energy it costs me would be better put to use changing things. Then more people will benefit.

Learning to understand each other better

What did that get me? During the past period as a member of the Members’ Council I have gained more understanding for the cooperative. Before, I thought: can't everything be done quicker? Of course, I was used to the dynamics of my own company. But the cooperative is my company, only times a thousand. So it's not surprising that it all takes a bit longer.

I did notice that the communication could be better. Sometimes it seems as if the cooperative speaks Chinese and the members speak flat Italian. That makes it very difficult to understand each other. Get a grip, I thought. We are the cooperative, so we should understand what's going on there. So communicate in a way that is clear to everyone. And the same goes for members. Let your voice be heard. Not just via Facebook or a petition, but by participating.

Join the discussion, join the action

Because I want to work on this, I have joined the Member Liaison Committee. So that there is good communication back and forth. So that we can find and understand each other. The signal meter is a good example of this. The new Members' Newspaper also helps, and don't forget the Members' Sessions. And we are currently playing with the plan to set up a WhatsApp group from the Members’ Council for members. That way you will receive regular updates. This number also makes it easier to share your questions and/or concerns.

The signal meter, the Members' Newspaper, members' sessions, a WhatsApp group: these are all means of making contact easier. In this way, we can show even better: members are in dialogue with each other and do have influence on the course of our cooperative. Through us - the Members' Council - through the FPCs, but also by making their voices heard through customer service or at meetings such as Members' Sessions or the Day of the Cooperative. Because that's the thing: as long as you keep your dissatisfaction inside the barn doors, nothing will change. Let your voice be heard, join the conversation, participate. Talk to each other, instead of about each other. That way, we will set the course together!''
The Members’ Council regularly publishes a column in which a topic is discussed that concerns a Council of Members member, but also observations and developments are discussed. This time, Member Council member Mirjam van der Meer. Member Councilor since 2021. Mirjam is co-owner of Cactus Vandermeer BV in the Westland.

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