Who Moved My Cheese by Dr. Spencer Johnson is a classic book whose lessons are often used in management when changes (like cost cutting measures and development of new products) are being implemented. Through its characters, two mice (Stiff and Scurry) and two little people (Ham and Haw), the little educative book emphasizes on the need to explore new opportunities without dilly dallying when the current ones dwindle.
When the cheese at Station C dwindles, Stiff and Scurry make a quick decision. They leave their old station and start looking for new cheese in unexplored territories. That is not the case for Hem and Haw. Unlike Stiff and Scurry, when they find no cheese at Station C, they get very disappointed and start blaming each other. Nevertheless, their blame game does not lead to the recovery of their favourite cheese. It is all in vain.
Whereas Hem is in a comfort zone and is not courageous enough to leave Station C, Haw finally leaves to try his luck elsewhere. Ultimately, Haw lands in a new station with more cheese than the previous one. Instead of going back to inform his friend about his pleasant discovery, Haw reckons that he should struggle to find his own way. In a manner of speaking, nothing good comes on a silver platter.
The Covid-19 pandemic has found many businesses (and even households) in a ‘who moved my cheese’ scenario. There are those who have adapted fast and moved on in pursuit of new cheese (read new opportunities) after being disrupted by the pandemic. Unfortunately, others (like Hem) are still sulking about their good old days.
Mr. Brian Branch, the President of the World Council of Trade Unions (known in Kenya as savings and credit co-operatives) addressed this issue in the latest edition of CUInsight Experience podcast. Despite the challenges facing credit unions globally, Branch said it is instinctive for them to help their members navigate crises (like the Covid-19 pandemic) since this generates a tremendous sense of loyalty. “The return will be, as we get through this recession, a tremendous membership and savings growth. We expect to have a very large resurgence of credit union systems and a tremendous growth around the world,” observed Branch.
Many credit unions globally (including Mentor Sacco) have adapted to the prevailing situation by providing more digital products and services to their members. As it were, this is the time for them to look for new cheese.