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Unitus Microcredit Loans

Lessons, impressions, and thoughts that I have about the powerful poverty-fighting tool of Microcredit and how Unitus is accelerating the growth of Microfinance around the globe.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Joseph Grenny - Unitus Board Member

I first met Joseph with Todd Manwaring and Warner Woodworth. It must have been 1999. I had known Warner for years, but this was the first time I had met Todd and Joseph. They wanted my advice about a non-profit that they were putting together and Warner brought them to me. As I threw out advice, I found that Joseph and Todd had already considered everything that I had thought of and it seemed to me that they knew more about the topic than I did.

A few months later, we connected up again and Joseph told me about their plans to run a cooperative in Kenya to help the unemployed. I was fascinated by the idea and wound up helping fund part of the venture and visiting Kenya a while later with Joseph and his wife. My in-laws volunteered to spend almost a year in Nairobi to try to help get the cooperative off the ground. It was there in Kenya that I first saw the skill and talent of Joseph in helping people find a middle ground.

During this time, Warner brought Todd, Joseph, and I to a meeting where we met, among other people, Bob Gay, Mike Murray, and Louis Pope. It was from this initial meeting in early 2000, that Unitus took its formation. One of the things that I really remember from that meeting was how deep the conviction each of these people had in trying to make a difference. I remember that there were 2 things that we agreed upon early on, which were:

1. We wanted to do something big - globally. We didn't want to get tied down in some corner.
2. We wanted to maximize leverage. Have our resources have the biggest impact that they could have.

As I think of what Unitus has evolved into, I am pretty impressed at how those early two objectives are being achieved. I give props to Mike Murray for helping the organization have that obsessive focus to stay the course.

I got to know Joseph much better after this, with him becoming a beloved friend and a trusted confidant.

Joseph is also incredibly successful. Joseph (with his partners at VitalSmarts) have written two New York Times bestseller Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High, and his newest release, Crucial Confrontations: Tools for Resolving Broken Promises, Violated Expectations, and Bad Behavior.

Joseph is an exceptional speaker (see a clip of one of his seminars here), speaking at keynote speeches around the country. He is also a very successful consultant. Over the past 20 years he has been an advisor to CEOs and senior executives on more than a dozen major change initiatives – including one with Lockheed Martin Aeronautics whose CEO credited Joseph’s work with enabling their winning of the $200 billion Joint Strike Fighter program.

I know I consider myself fortunate and I think Unitus does as well to have an association with Joseph Grenny. If you have a chance to meet Joseph, you find yourself rolling on the floor with laughter, but you will also sense the incredible love that Joseph exhibits for you.


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