Thursday, January 24, 2013
Anthony Okuchi - Passing the baton
Tuesday January 22, 2013
Tuesday 3:30am. I fell asleep at 8pm after our training sessions with the CUA staff due to our 4 hours of sleep the night before. Partly my fault as the old coaches were just catching up with each other. Overall it was success with staff saying they wanted to expand the training to two days and invite Credit Union Board Members and General Managers, even though we had to grapple with intermittent power failures throughout the day. CCA did such a great job. Kudos to all their hard work.
But its 3:30am, and I’m wide awake now sitting in my humid hotel room reflecting on how the day went. The overhead fan is tapping out a rhythm on its dilapidated and worn bearings. Initially annoying, it’s become strangely soothing with its regular beat.
I’m thinking of a conversation that I had with some of the interns here and a new coach over lunch yesterday. It was so interesting hearing from these interns and the new coach who want to make a difference here. We talked a lot about what we are trying to accomplish. Evolve the credit union system to become more professional and impactful in these communities. To become a primary force for financial sustainability for these members in Ghana. To drive away the costly micro-finance institutions that really do no good for Ghanaians who are overcharged for access to credit just because they do not know any better.
I reminded them to think of their roles as caretakers of the credit union system. Much like the runner who passes the baton onto the next runner. We are all coaches who must help move the system forward so that the next year coach can be successful. It seemed to connect with them. We are going to come across many opportunities where we see this younger credit union system making many of the same mistakes we did in the 80’s and 90’s and wanting to redirect them. Much like what an over protective parent does when they don’t want their children to be hurt.
For example, they are still primarily lending based on character here and we introduced some basic financial models to help support decision making though a modified debt service coverage ratio. Many of the CUA staff saw this as really different to how they lend here and are still going through a change curve. But it’s about passing the baton. It’s about moving it forward so that next year’s coach may be able to deliver the models during their field visits next year.
Hopefully, I can help pass the baton on for next year’s coach...