You’ve seen him. If not in during an original presentation, in the countless parodies of his delivery. Dark suit, rigid stance, words that force their way from his nearly clenched lips. When I’m asked “What celebrity who is no longer living do you wish you could have one conversation with?”—I answer quickly with his name: Rod Serling. We actually share the same hometown. And though I’m not a sci-fi fan by any means, I feel I can glean a lot from the plots and story lines of the various Twilight Zone episodes. There were quite a range of topics, from social, political, leadership and yes, marketing ideas.
Over the next twelve months I’ll highlight some episodes that have a certain message for credit union leaders and marketers. While there may be Martians and oddities in each, within lies a great message. Each has a simple meaning, yet they can be easily forgotten when we attach our own egos and agendas to the roles we play within not only our respective credit unions but within our own lives.
Today, I would like to focus on Mr. Serling himself. In doing some research for this first article in the series I came across many “ah-ha” moment quotes. It was difficult to pick only one to focus on as Mr. Serling’s life is a study in humanity in itself; however I found one that seemed to sum up the many messages he tried to preach in his work:
I think the destiny of all men is not to sit in the rubble of their own making but to reach out for an ultimate perfection which is to be had. At the moment, it is a dream. But as of the moment we clasp hands with our neighbor, we build the first span to bridge the gap between the young and the old. At this hour, it’s a wish. But we have it within our power to make it a reality. If you want to prove that God is not dead, first prove that man is alive.
With each word Serling spoke, his theme was harmony among humanity. The words above are more relevant today in 2014 for credit union leaders than perhaps back in 1968 when Serling delivered his address at Moorpark College.
Rod Serling’s ideas are just as important to us today, as they were 40 and 50 years ago or more. Currently we sit in the rubble of our own making, being content with where we were and how we did business for so many years. Overall growth and prosperity should be the focus of credit union leaders. We can’t sit back while new technologies, new thought processes and members pass us by. Until the board, management, and leadership at your credit union clasp hands and truly build the first span of the bridge to reach out in a real, authentic manner to those you wish to serve, you’ll continue to sit in the rubble.