It is squarely the leadership hand that will actively transform and accelerate the pace of the now inevitable digitization of Savings and Credit Cooperatives (Saccos).
While delivering a keynote address during the premier virtual East Africa SaccoTech Forum 2020 organized by CIO East Africa, George Ototo, Managing Director, KUSCCO underscored the need for the SACCO movement leaders to urgently embark on the journey of digital transformation if they are to impact on social development.
“Digital leadership explores the growing use of digital technologies in the business landscape, and how institutions are cultivating opportunities and addressing risks in a fast-moving, digital market environment,” stated Ototo, during the virtual forum themed Accelerating Automation for Socio-Economic Development.
Targeting deposit-taking SACCOs stakeholders the virtual forum drawing the participation of the policymakers, the industry regulator, the leadership in SACCOs specifically ranging from CEOs, Chief Finance Officers to Heads of IT.
The forum reflecting on a number of previously unimaginable innovations and transitions demonstrated steps that SACCOs are steadily making in a journey lined to re-calibrate processes to revamp social impacts in the overall goal of the cooperators participation in building the economy.
Observing that SACCOs of the future must purpose to be dynamic, Ototo laid emphasis on the need for the leadership to differ the already disrupted traditional management and instead steer their organizations to focus on adaptability, agility and transparency in this era of digital transformation.
“The organisation of the future is dynamic, adapts quickly and has no traditional management. In the past, most organizations were focused on efficiency and effectiveness.” George Ototo, Managing Director, KUSCCO
In Kenya, Saccos have come up with various strategic plans to improve their performance. Some of these plans are expected to give Sacco’s a competitive advantage in the current turbulent business environment includes; customer relationship management, education and training, information technology, regulatory framework, monitoring, evaluation and mentorship and capacity building in the cooperative movement.
“The organisation of the future is dynamic, adapts quickly and has no traditional management. In the past, most organizations were focused on efficiency and effectiveness,” said Ototo adding that this resulted in business models that are based on predictable commercial patterns. The biggest disadvantage of these business models is that they are not suitable for an era of unpredictability and disruption.
Instead of focusing on having a specific business model, successful organisations must focus on adaptability, agility and transparency. This enables them to gain a competitive advantage.
According to Ototo the important part of an organization’s agility is a shift from hierarchical organizational structures to models that work in teams. In this context, leaders need to deal with unprecedented changes and unpredictable challenging future due to the fourth industrial revolution driven by the advent of new technologies.
Ototo opined that leaders will have to create and show the way forward amid transitions, disruptions, chaos and ambiguity to attain desired results. SACCO leaders, added the KUSCCO boss need to steer, design and build systems that create an inclusive future for everyone.
While underscoring the need of effective leadership Ototo stressed on the need for leaders to uphold self-awareness by having an accurate assessment of strengths & weaknesses and seeing them in the context of the larger whole and accepting that change is constant. He added that tolerance to uncertainty helps the leaders to be adaptable but with strong opinion even in the wake of uncertainty and unknown.
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