Dinner, with a lesson

Recently, I had the pleasure of dining with a number of successful credit union CEOs.  As much as I could, I sat back and listened.

At one point, one of the CEOs joked that her job really boiled down to showing up at parades and kissing babies.  We all laughed.  But then I had to ask her this…

What really is your job?

The question really seemed to hit home, and one-by-one, all the CEOs took a minute and discussed how they saw their work. No one gave exactly the same answer, but they all spoke about similar things.

Focus.  They spent time and effort making sure their teams focused on what mattered most.  One CEO said that when she started, she boiled the list of things to focus on down to only three. If what you were doing didn’t fit into one of the three things, you stopped doing it.  Now that’s focus. 

Strategy. Each CEO said that they had to build a strategic vision. Some worked with their boards.  Others were delegated with that task.

Communication. This was universal. Every CEO said that much of their job was continuous communication – both giving information and listening. Communicate the vision.  The strategic plan. Priorities. Over and over.  And all of them championed the idea that good leaders had to get out of their office and visit with their colleagues. 

Shepherding. If the credit union or a particular executive was getting away from priorities, each CEO said a good part of their job was diplomatically getting things back on track. 

Stewardship. Finally, each CEO spoke of stewardship. Protecting and empowering employees.  The credit union’s brand. The credit union’s membership. Its vision. You could see the ownership and care that each leader had in his or her voice.

That’s a good list. And it was a great dinner.  

And the food wasn’t bad either. 

Anthony Demangone

Anthony Demangone

Anthony Demangone is executive vice president and chief operating officer at the National Association of Federal Credit Unions (NAFCU). Demangone oversees day-to-day operations and manages the association’s education, membership, ... Web: https://www.cuinsight.com/partner/nafcu Details