• Sage Shea

PV Squared

PV Squared

PV Squared is a Western MA based, cooperatively owned and run solar design, installation, and maintenance company employing 43 employees.



Pressure Points

PV Squared recently switched to a co-op structure. Yet, they’re actions are still mirroring their former business structure which has bred inequitable power sharing and mistrust among the workers. One of their largest difficulties was decision making. They don’t have a systematized way of communicating.

  • When they try to make a choice by uniform consensus, there’s a large lag in decision making.

  • When they make choices from the top down, workers become frustrated, communicate worse, and make worse decisions.

Workers are either left out or decision making gets bogged down.


The goal of cultural development is to ensure a language and a culture where workers know how to “call in” damaging and negative behaviors, give constructive feedback in a way that will improve organizational culture and return to community agreements as necessary to evaluate culture shifts.

Scope

  • Facilitated an all co-op meeting

  • Assessed client needs and points of contention

  • Produced an extensive set of recommendations/report to support a strategic plan for how to address power dynamics


These were executed with the goal of holding both leadership and team to policies/practices that create a safe work environment across the intersectional spectrum of identity in line with anti-oppression goals.


The Fix

I helped them clearly identify the challenges their team currently faces to creating a welcoming and inclusive culture. We then visioned into where the organization wants to be in 5 years are source I made recommendations about how to create a transparent and equitable communication process that holds leadership accountable to these commitments.


The New Decision Making Process

  1. The Leadership team and board lead a meeting to present issues to the entire staff.

  2. During that meeting, they listen to what people want

  3. Leadership makes documents that summarize the wants of the Co-op

  4. The documents are distributed during a vetting period where people can suggest changes

  5. Leadership rereads the documents and makes final choices


For some unique situations, the decision making process is different. In these circumstances, leadership was advised on how to proceed with transparency and buy-in.


PV Squared has been making strides towards being more queer inclusive and gender informed. While they’ve updated their bathroom policies, they’ve been unable to make a clear email policy for months. Because no unanimous consensus could be reached, no choice was made at all.

Impact

There were many tangible impacts. The biggest of which being clear policies for decision making based on full or majority consensus rooted in evidence and research.


  • Workers are more accountable to a mechanism for developing organizational culture

  • Implement policies and practices that create a safe work environment across the intersectional spectrum of identity

  • Create clear guidelines for decision making standards for holding each other accountable

  • Teaching how to use living documents that evolve as workers do and allows space for comments and growth throughout the co-op


Decisions are more concrete, faster, and effective. Co-op members feel included and vested in their business.


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Montague, MA

© 2020 Ang Roell

Created by Sage Orville