Could George Washington lead your credit union IT team?

by. Robin Remines

Did you know that George Washington lost more battles than he won? An interesting fact given that to many he is also considered the greatest leader ever. It was through those losses however that he gained the necessary skills/knowledge to eventually lead his troops to victory over the British in 1781. Each day as a credit union leader, you face new battles (risks/threats) and for certain, there are enemies that threaten your operational integrity. In honor of President’s Day, let’s look at how applying Washington’s strategies could help you lead your credit union IT team!

1) Build the right army (team) – Washington’s first military priority was building an efficient and well-trained army. Sounds simple enough, right? Not so fast – At the time, most colonial statesmen held  a blind faith that untrained citizens organized into voluntary militias fighting to defend their own communities were more effective than a regular standing army. It took years to convince Congress to let him build it his way.

With today’s complex infrastructure, your IT “army” also requires a deliberate approach to training and development.  it is literally impossible for your IT team to know it all.  Today’s credit union leaders can take from this lesson and:

  • Learn that IT training should never be a subject for debate.
  • Drill, Organize and Prepare or as we like to say it – Plan, Prepare and Protect. The idea being that you are practicing and developing muscle memory where it counts.

2) “The Way To Win The War Is Not To Lose It” – Washington subscribed to this methodology after almost being totally annihilated after a couple of direct confrontations with the British Army early in the war.  I really like this quote and feel it is a more modern take to the old “If not When”. As a credit union technologist, you don’t have a choice on whether you will face an attack – you ARE at war and there ARE threats to your data. Instead of looking for a solution that goes for the one shot “win”, smart CIO’s today are looking at layered defense tools to keep their member data safe.

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