Can just one individual make a major difference in a water service provider? The answer is emphatically yes!
For example, in the past six months, with two of our partner utilities, they lost the top executive in their organization. Quickly and selflessly a junior member of their management team stepped in to take on the unenviable leadership role. The result is not only a continuation of these individuals’ original responsibilities but also continuity of leadership of the organization – essentially wearing “two hats” at the same time. While their (public sector) salaries remained the same, through sheer hard work, long hours, and dedication to their community, they kept their organizations running and water flowing.
The example we are highlighting in this month’s newsletter is from our partner in Lesotho, WASCO. This utility, which serves over 500,000 people, suffered a revolving door of five Chief Executives or acting Chief Executives in as many years. The utility suffered enormously in this period of time. Around the middle of 2019 in came Chief Executive Mr. Futho Hoohlo. This changed everything. Quickly we noticed leadership, discipline, teamwork, development of procedures and in general solid forward progress. While Mr. Hoohlo has a strong team supporting him, there is no denying the role he alone has played in this transformation.
His background on paper would not have augured for such success at WASCO. He was a talented electrical engineer with the Lesotho Highlands Development Authority and a brewing company in the field of operations and maintenance, planning and management as well as project management. He also worked as a consultant with private sector engineering and contracting firms. What clearly lurked beneath his technical and project management background were the character traits of leadership, organizational management and team building which he has excelled at in his new position with WASCO. His appointment to Chief Executive has renewed the WASCO organization with confidence and credibility.
ROCKBlue uses a tool called a Partnership Tracking Form to utilities to set priorities, push for improvements and monitor progress. Under Mr. Hoohlo’ s leadership, the progress on their tracking form has been exemplary; and there is no sign of progress being abated even against the strong headwinds of Covid-19. We applaud Mr. Hoohlo, his team and WASCO.