The Brendan Voyage – Navigating through Change
Naomh Brendan Credit Union are based in Loughrea, Co Galway. I have had the pleasure of working with them for over a year now on a project of establishing a compelling vision and understanding their ‘Why’.
The navigator was an interesting man. There are many who believe that he, not the congratulated Christopher Columbus, discovered America. The fact that natives welcomed them on the beach suggests that neither did! Not only did Naomh Brendain sail from Ireland to America, but he also did it at a time when only wind power existed. As a teenager, I read the story of Tim Severin who replicated the original St Brendan Voyage in a leather-skinned boat. I was to later visit the boat’s resting place and I touched it. I was and still am intrigued by the story. It has deep meaning. We need deep meaning in these uncertain times.
Like many of us, Naomh Brendain (St Brendan) Credit Union is navigating through disruption and inspired by the story of St Brendan they are navigating so as to create a better community. They are a caring and committed team which includes the 12 staff in the office and the volunteer board. They do not have ‘customers’ but ”members who also share in the current voyage. I was delighted to work on this project. From it, I have been asked to work on other Credit Union projects. Next up is the impressive Ballyfermot and Inchicore.
This year, the Naomh Brendain team discussed, debated, dug deep, got huffy, re-energized and came up with their ‘Why’, their vision, the purpose of their existence. They decided to keep it short but encompassing –
‘Together building a better tomorrow for our Community’.
The Values which will steer this vision are:
Every single word decided on by the staff who deliver the service offer. They will write the values on the walls but they will feel them in the walls of the Credit Union. They own it, they are responsible for it and they took this to the board and the board acted as servant leaders and backed it 100%. No outdated hierarchical nonsense. Positive organisational culture. Empowerment, collaboration, vision. Impressive. It is clear that leadership is a behaviour and not a position at Naomh Brendain Credit Union and because of that leaders emerge. Naomh Brendain Credit Union have nearly €60 million to lend so this is not a small entity. It has huge financial power with a huge social impact ability in Loughrea. There are over 250 of these in Ireland – think of the impact they can bring locally and nationally.
The Naomh Brendain Credit Union objective – to be in a position to be the ethical lender of choice so that the community can build a better tomorrow. To allow heating oil to be purchased, to allow students to go to the University/Education avenue of choice, to allow for a house extension. To allow people not alone to survive, but thrive. The ‘Naomh Brendain Way’ is an interesting project. This Brendan Voyage is sailing and the Credit Union here will succeed and it will also thrive. Watch the growth and that includes its people.
So, when you get the ‘Why’ clear, the how, the what, the where and the when will follow.