With Halloween quickly approaching it got me thinking about masks.
The masks people tend to wear to protect themselves.
To hide themselves.
To change themselves.
To fool themselves.
As credit unions, we can wear a variety of masks too.
I know, I know, that isn’t a fun statement but let me elaborate.
We all know that credit unions are based on a specific set of principles and philosophies.
They are pretty clear and easy to understand.
Some of us choose to splash those on the walls of our credit unions for members to see.
Some include them in our marketing efforts.
Some talk about them with our members face to face.
BUT, let me be straight forward.
NONE of this matters if there is no action behind those words.
How many times have you read a mission statement on the wall of a business and have had less than stellar service?
You leave there thinking if only you had a sharpie to “update” the words on their wall to the truth.
That’s just it.
They are just words, just a mask, if there are no actionable behaviors behind them.
You can’t dress up as Batman and behave like the Joker.
Credit unions should feel different.
They should treat members special.
They should model their behaviors and procedures off the words they say.
They should do what they say and say what they do.
It’s unfortunate that there are credit unions out there that behave more like banks.
I have seen it.
You have seen it.
Members have felt it.
That mask is dangerous for all of us.
Most people choose their financial institution based on how they are treated.
In fact, most consumers do this with just about everywhere they choose to place their business.
If you go to a store and they treat you poorly, you are going to go to their competitor next time in hopes of better treatment.
For those of us that have not only sipped but guzzled the U Kool-Aid, it is downright painful when you declare in a conversation that you work for a credit union and that statement is followed by someone piping in to tell you how they were mistreated at one.
Those masks that some wear hurt the rest of us that know there is and should be a CU difference in each member experience.
I have been a part of a credit union whose culture changed almost overnight after a management change.
It felt ugly.
It felt gross.
I felt like a fraud knowing that we were no longer serving our members with the same empathy, respect, and heart of service as we had previously.
Our name had “Credit Union” in it, but there was absolutely no tangible evidence in the way that we were behaving towards our members and potential members.
I wanted to be Batman and was being forced to be the Joker.
The conversations within the community went from:
They have always helped me!
What happened to you guys?
I couldn’t answer that question with any sort of conviction.
It was devastating to me, and I needed to do some real soul searching to realize that in order for me to have passion for my purpose, I needed to believe in where I was.
That led me to finding my path at a different credit union and the rest is history.
I tossed that Joker mask and proudly began to sport that Batman mask once again.
For me, I need to believe in what I am doing and who I am doing it for.
Then and only then does passion and purpose explode in the best way.
I ask you to take a look at your CU.
How you operate.
How you treat your members.
Internal and external.
How you convey your mission statement.
How you live out the principles and philosophies.
Are you an example of the superhero you are portraying?