Early on, I learned that true leaders act on behalf of others. However, a leader cannot be in a position to serve others until they serve “the one,” meaning they see the humanness in an individual before solving anything on a larger scale. We encourage this at South Carolina Federal Credit Union by working intensely on our relationships within the organization.
Returning Home to Make a Difference
One of my favorite stories and incredible displays of leadership happened in Kenya last year. Through a global credit union initiative, our team helped leaders improve their understanding of savings mobilization and credit utilization.
While in Kenya, I met three men. They were young, in their early twenties, and were from a notoriously corrupt township, where citizens feared for their lives, drug use and prostitution were rampant.
A neighboring village elder had sought to give them a chance at a better life. These men could have chosen to leave the town for a better place, one that offered better opportunities, yet they decided to return home and make a difference.
Saving Lives with a Sewing Machine
When I asked why they said they wanted to change the way people treated each other. They told me they had a plan. The goal was to set up a business where at-risk women could learn a trade. They would teach these women how to sew. I asked them how many sewing machines they had. In unison, they responded, “One.” I asked them how many women they had lined up to sew. As they looked from one to another, they responded again in unison, “One.”
They went on to explain that they knew if they could get just one woman on board, the others would also see sewing as a sustainable career option. They further surmised that this “one” would become an advocate and that eventually, one would become two, then four, and so on and so on. The young leaders saw these women in their village as potential beacons of hope who had the power to change and be change agents in the lives of others too. They started their mission by focusing on “the one.”
How do you recognize the power of relationships in your organization? How are you utilizing the Power of One?