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.