For many credit unions, digital transformation is at or near the top of their strategic plans. While the events of 2020 fast-tracked strategies for digital transformation, adoption and execution have been in the works throughout the industry for several years. Of equal interest is the next set of skills required to lead digital transformation at all levels. Lending, operations, and finance still act as the mainstay of must-have skills, but technological and digital proficiency are neck-and-neck in the race for next level competencies.
As an example, look to how roles have expanded in digital emphasis across your organization. For the Chief Lending Officer, automated underwriting, decision-making, and execution drive lending practices. For the Chief Operating Officer, one-to-one member service is most likely to occur via telephone, chat, or video feed through an offsite contact center. For the Chief Marketing Officer, promotion is targeted, digital in delivery, and driven by data. For the Chief Information Officer, creating connections between technology and the full enterprise is a requirement. For the Chief Financial Officer, automation, streamlining, costs, benefits, and revenue generation are increasingly larger parts of every initiative. For the Chief Executive Officer, conveying the argument for digital transformation and fostering a forward-thinking culture that makes data-driven decisions and maximizes the use of digital platforms reinforces the need for a shift in focus as professionals. Even the Board should consider digital transformation as part of its leadership focus, ensuring that long-term innovation and investment are active parts of strategy.
So, what can a credit union professional implement to develop his or her digital transformation skill set?
- Be curious, confident, and motivated. As a leader, you are responsible for staying on top of trends, always moving operations forward, and focusing on delivering new elements of growth for your team and credit union.
- Learn how in-house and acquired data and technology can better assist you in delivering operating, financial, and experiential results. How might you leverage this information to boost sales, service, engagement, and support?
- Build a digitally innovative and creative team and culture by investing in the digitally focused professional development of your colleagues. Look for webinars, schools, and certifications that emphasize the digital, automated, and business intelligence aspects of operations.
- Learn from all professionals in the credit union who are delivering outstanding results in serving members and colleagues through digital means. Ensure their voices and ideas are heard at higher levels of leadership. Good practices and proposals from anywhere need the attention of managers with influence and the ability to direct resources.
- Pursue and rotate responsibilities and opportunities for yourself and among your team. While digital progress often automates or eliminates tasks, it also creates opportunities for your colleagues to grow professionally through new experiences in new roles. In an evolving industry, being ready and prepared to serve in multiple disciplines increases the value you bring to the credit union.
As quickly as credit unions seek to deliver the digital experience and engagement that members expect, credit union leaders at all levels must be equipped to lead in a digital economy and industry. Technology has moved from the spoke to the hub of all we do and offer. Technological knowledge, savvy, and skills are quickly becoming the new starting point for professional development and value. Invest in these skills, for yourself and your colleagues, in preparation for the certainties of an evolving business environment.