When I worked at Procter & Gamble, we thought a lot about making sure we could meet the needs of all our potential customers in a particular product category. For example, people who bought fabric softener from us might want to conveniently add softness and fragrance to—and remove static from—their clothes in the washing machine or dryer. To cover all these needs, P&G offered both Downy, a liquid fabric softener that adds softness and fragrance to clothes in the washing machine, and Bounce, a dryer sheet that eliminates static and adds fragrance.
As a talent development association, CUES similarly offers a variety of learning opportunities designed to meet the needs of credit union leaders. To help you choose among our in-person and online offerings, ask yourself these five key questions:
- What do I want to learn about? _______________________________________
If your learning goal is specific, you might look to single-focus seminars, webinars or schools about topics ranging from business lending to governance to payments. If your goal is broader, you might prefer to attend a conference with hundreds of attendees with whom you can network, in addition to listening to speakers.
- How do I prefer to learn? ________________________________________________
For example, if learning by doing works well for you, actually running a credit union from the safety of the computer simulation used at CUES’ School of Applied Strategic Management™ might be a perfect fit. Similarly, attendees of CUES School of Business Lending™ I, II and III work actual problems to determine the creditworthiness of sample member businesses. CUES Symposium: A CEO/Chairman Exchange boasts a unique format of morning learning and afternoon relationship-building activities for CEO-chairman pairs. The format of learning matters. I encourage you to consider your options.
- How much time am I prepared to commit to learning? _______________________
If your purpose is a quick overview of a subject, a webinar might work well. For a somewhat deeper dive, CUES’ new Elite Access™ Virtual Classroom, which consists of two one-hour, live-taught sessions plus assignments that ask participants to apply what you’re learning to your work at the credit union. A next level of commitment might take you to a CUES School, each of which is several days to a week long. Finally, if you’re preparing to become CEO, a time commitment of three weeks over three years, such as is required by CEO Institute, might be appropriate.
- What is my budget? _______________________________________
Similar to time commitment, your learning budget might depend on your long-term goal. All CUES webinars are free to members, whereas institutes focused on innovation, mergers and readying CEOs held at such top-tier campuses as Stanford University, The University of Chicago Booth School of Business and Cornell University, demand greater resources.
- What is my ability to travel? _______________________________________
High-level learning often benefits from your getting out of the office and unplugging from day-to-day pressures. But sometimes being away from your desk in a particular week is out of the question. In this technological age, you can choose to learn online or in-person accordingly.
Asking yourself these five questions and applying them to your educational choices will help you find your best learning match and get the most return for your investment in professional development.