Is Hakuna Matata A Part Of Your CU?


It takes a village to accomplish a BHAG. While an individual may have the clarity of the vision that is the driving direction, it takes many to bring the dream to reality.


The same is true on Mt. Kilimanjaro. Free hiking, defined as people hiking unconnected to a tour company, is strictly prohibited by Tanzania National Parks. On my tour lead by Ultimate Kilimanjaro, the key roles consisted of two lead guides, four assistant guides, and a cook. This is a similar configuration to a credit union leadership team. The lead guides are similar to the CEO and most senior Vice Presidents. They are experts on all components of the hike. They manage the logistics, safety and security, medic/ EMT, hiking conditions, and act as nature guides, and chief troubleshooters. These are the key personnel who make the final say. They decide if you stay on the climb or need to be removed for a variety of reasons. Assistant guides are like the other members of the leadership team, and each one brings their talents, can step in if a lead guide needs them too, as well as learn from the lead guide as well from the other guides.


The cooks play a vitally important role. They provide the fuel to both the climbers and the tour team. As the body is working in limited oxygen condition, it is working harder than it would in an oxygen-rich environment. As a result, hiking 3 miles and climbing 3,000 feet of elevation would burn more calories than it would under oxygen-rich conditions. The fuel needed is a diet of heavy carb and proteins with a minimum of 3-4 liters of hydration. On an eight-day climb, where the kitchen moves each day and conditions are primitive at best. There is no refrigeration, no running water, cooking over two propane tanks sitting on a plastic supply crate with supplies carried via porter and are refreshed only once. And delivering three hot, multi-course meals + a snack is indeed the outcome of talent.


When an organization is looking to connect data to solve their business problems, the CEO and leadership team is similar in function to the lead guide and assistants. They share a vision, bring in capabilities to support the vision and each other, especially when situations pivot. To function as a cohesive team, they have to be committed to the BHAG.

  • Is your team committed?

  • Or just moving through the motions.

  • Does your team enjoy working with each other?

  • Can they preverbally be found playing cards in a cramped tent in the rain and enjoying it?

  • But the bigger question is, who is your cook? Is it made up of one person, perhaps CCO? Or is it a team of people?

To start any data project, it is essential to identify who your cook is and recognize the state of your talent.


But there are also the porters. There is approximately one porter per climber. They are the individuals that carry the supplies both for the food as well as the tents and the toilets up the mountain. Without them, there is no place to sleep, eat, and potty. These fundamentals, like the warm meals, do not just happen; they are part of a detailed, well-orchestrated plan. The porters move incredibly nimbly over difficult terrain carrying an average of 40-60 Lbs. This is similar to department leads at the credit union. They are highly talented at their domain; without them, the doors don't open (both physically and virtually), and they are vital to keeping the member happy. What is the role of your organizational department leads to the connected data initiative? What function will they play in keeping the member happy?


And finally, we have the climbers.

The climbers closely resemble the data, coming from a variety of disparate sources and coming together for the first time to accomplish a BHAG On the mountain, the climbers consisted of 3 women, ten men who came from Australia, United States, Poland, Hungary, India, and France. The oldest was 64, and the youngest was 26 with approximately one-third of the participants were aged 48- 64, a third fell into the '30s, and the remaining third was aged 20's. The constant factor in all these types of villagers in the connected data village is the culture. In Swahili, its called Hakuna Matata (yes Disney did use actual Swahili in its Lion King). Hakuna Matata means is no worries, and in a team setting it means the team will figure out a solution, so please don't fret and have confidence in the team. This sense of being connected to a larger community is a critical success factor. It lessens the ability to work in silos, creates a larger sense of purpose, and is part of a credit union seven guiding principles — concern for the community.


Do you have Hakuna Matata in your credit union?

Looking for more ways data can improve members' lives? Here are a few of our favorites:

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