Disney for credit unions 6: Leave behind something to grow

When you wish upon a star
Makes no difference who you are
Anything your heart desires
Will come to you…

The opening scene of the animated film Pinocchio features a singing green insect decked out in top hat, tie, and tails. Jiminy Cricket’s solo set the stage for the transformation of a puppet to a boy. This Disney classic for the young reached all ages. “When You Wish Upon a Star”was the winner for Best Song, and the soundtrack took Best Original Musical Score at the 1941 Academy Awards.

Since then, “When You Wish Upon a Star” has become the Disney anthem. Baby-boomers remember it as the theme for the Wonderful World of Disney television show. Listen for the jingle as the opening logo sequence at the beginning of all Disney movies. Hear the melody during fireworks shows at the theme parks. And yes, if you travel on the cruise line, pay attention to the familiar notes when the ship horn sounds. Jiminy’s song planted a seed for Walt Disney’s vision to flourish beyond his days.

For one moment, close your eyes and reflect on the history of your credit union. Think of the charter members and past leaders. Now mull over this statement: “The true measure of a man’s greatness is what he’s left behind to grow.”

Those founders and leaders have left something important for us, but not with the hopes that we would sit idly by riding their coattails. Rather, they looked to us to nurture and grow the organization.

Think about this: Disney World didn’t open its doors to the public until five years after Walt Disney’s death. Yet, the success of the park continues to thrive and evolve almost 45 years later. Notice “thrive” and “evolve” in the same sentence. Disney understood that you can’t have success without evolving with consumers.

Sure, Disney has diversified in a number of ways, but it’s still the company that started with a mouse. Just like your credit union has evolved in many ways, it’s still the financial institution that started with several people caring enough to pool their money together to help their community.

Walt Disney said it best. “Disneyland is something that will never be finished, something I can keep ‘plussing’ and adding to. I just finished a live-action picture. It’s gone. I can’t touch it. I want something live, something that will grow. The park is that.”

Imagine what Disney would be thinking and doing today with the rapid advances in technology. Would he be slow to adapt or would he find ways to meet his customers where they are in terms of technology? We can only guess, but Disney as an organization has found amazing ways to use technology to continue to perfect the Disney experience, both online and onsite.

What are you leaving behind? Whether you are three months or 30 years away from retirement, think about what you’re doing at your credit union today and ask yourself, “Am I acting today to leave behind something great?”

Even the founders of our movement decades ago embraced the future: “We must remember what we started out to do and then find ways to do it with the modern techniques available.” — Louise Herring

Bo McDonald

Bo McDonald

Bo McDonald is president of Your Marketing Co. A marketing firm that started serving credit unions nearly a decade ago, offering a wide range of services including web design, branding, ... Web: yourmarketing.co Details