Related to our previous topics, some discussions with peers on how some newly registered cooperatives managed to grow fast and overtook some of those previously registered under PD 175. It is interesting to note the increasing number of millionaire cooperatives in the Cordillera Administrative Region CAR). What could have been some factors that leapfrogging occurred in some cooperatives? Limited literatures on leapfrogging cooperatives inspired me to scribble some practices employed by cooperative managers as observed in the Cordillera. As gleaned from interactions and observations in our dealings with some managers and cooperative leaders allow me to share the following insights.
Most successful cooperative managers in CAR display a unique behavior associated with assimilated family or corporate trait. Common among them is the humility to serve in the organization. As front liners, they act as shock absorbers on feedbacks and pressures from members, officers and staff. Their ability to strike a balance in dealing with combined tensions within and outside the organization manifests managers’ perseverance and humbleness to serve with gladness. Often, managers bring along with them work ethics and corporate culture that can alter existing norms in an organization. In some instances, decisions of Board of Directors are not within the approved plans and budget of the cooperative but managers need to address such using their acquired skills. They may have reservations on such Board actions but as employees they keep it unto themselves since going against the will of their employers might cause issues on board and management relationship. The best weapon managers wield in such instances is creativity. Ensuring resolution of issues requires managerial and social skills that may favor or negate board decisions when done intelligently. It is our understanding that managers align assimilated culture with that of corporate culture to sustain growth of the enterprise.
Moreover, flexibility of most managers to address the challenges on operations and cooperative governance bring out the best in them to innovate. As part of their role in ensuring that plans are carried out, every opportunity must be seized and every problem must be solved. Having an open mind and willingness to explore measures on how to improve operations, managers have the ability to relate with others and harness social intelligence as a tool to effect better change. Innovative managers often outsmart their counterparts as they employ alternatives in dealing with development challenges.
Further, cooperative managers combine acquired skills to innovate and come up with strategies on how to deal with cooperative issues and concerns. Strategies are designed to win the hearts and mind of the members, officers, staff and stakeholders to support implementation of approved plans and programs. Part of the skills of an effective manager is benchmarking and strategic planning. An idea on how the institution functions and operates compared to other entities allows the positioning of products and services to encourage higher patronage. This approach keeps the cooperative business going. Knowledge on members, officers and staff needs and aspirations create more opportunities to initiate measures that propel socio-economic growth. Absence of innovations and strategy often stagnate business especially when traditional management approaches are employed.
Members of cooperatives today prefer dynamic and responsive service delivery. Managers who easily attune business services to the fast technological changes capture more members than those who operate the traditional way. As Chief Executive Officers their commitment to satisfy investors requires them to diversify operations to generate net surplus. While sustaining the gains from operations managers go beyond extra mile to identify potential business and approaches that can further improve the business. Foresight of managers enables organizations to grow given support of management, officers, members and stakeholders. Associated with sagacity is the ability of managers to take risks, Managing risks as part of decisions allow managers to deal with dexterity and unpopular officers actions.
Finally, managers help the cooperatives through their assertive and good human relations. Communicated plans and good interpersonal and intrapersonal relations of most managers convince investors to increase their stake in the business. Increased capital and patronage is good for business operations as it provides the opportunity for vertical and horizontal expansion. With fervent hope in every business decision, managers sustain cooperatives with their willingness to experiment and take calculated risks. There are not short cuts to success and sometimes the best way to handle unusual situation require the willingness to face the consequence of every decision.