If you’re feeling stuck as a credit union leader, here’s how to “snap out of it”

I was recently on a flight back from my visit to GAC and had to do something uncomfortable. I had to sit on a different side of the plane. My connecting flight from Atlanta back to Greenville, SC, was full by the time I went to book, and my only choices were seats on the right side of the plane. I’m a person of nature (or OCD, whichever you prefer) and always book a window seat on the left side of the plane. I had no choice. I booked a window seat on the right side of the plane.

For most of the flight, I was engrossed in my book (Lincoln’s Melancholy, for those wondering what I’m reading right now), but on the approach in I put the book down and looked out the window. Something was awry. Nothing looked familiar. I realized it was the same flight path, but a totally different view since I was on a different side of the plane. It was the same place I’ve flown over several times a month for the last decade, but I had a different view on it.

As a leader, it reminded me of the sage words from the famous philosopher Sheryl Crow, “A change would do you good.” It also reminded me of a credit union CEO several years ago who had a similar experience. The employee entrance to the credit union was undergoing some construction, so she had to use the front entrance members use and was horrified at what she found. Untended landscaping in the front and a worn down, not-so-welcoming lobby. A change did her (and her credit union) good. She saw things from a different perspective.

There are two ways a fresh perspective and a change might do you good as a credit union leader:

  1. Competition neglect: Credit union leaders often lead their credit unions from their point of view instead of what members (and potential members) need. It’s like someone who opens an Italian restaurant because they love Italian cuisine without ever gaining perspective on whether potential customers will like their take on Italian cuisine or if there is need for another Italian restaurant or if they can deliver something different or be competitive on price. By neglecting the perspectives of potential customers, competitors, and suppliers, these entrepreneurs practically ensure failure. We tend to focus on our financial needs or our delivery preferences or what core processor fits our internal needs instead of gaining a fresh perspective on what the members truly need.
  2. Team Neglect: We often lead and make decisions in a vacuum, without gaining perspective from team members. This is tough for most leaders, even those who try to ask their team for perspective. If you tend to shut down conversations or negate whatever your team says as “wrong,” your team will turn into paralyzed house plants. Even for those leaders who do listen, there will always be employees who don’t feel comfortable giving feedback. As a leader, finding ways to encourage that feedback for a fresh perspective from front-line staff would do you good. Value and respect turn into loyalty and commitment from your team, and it also provides a fresh perspective that will help you make better decisions for a better and more frictionless experience for your team and your members.

If you feel stuck in leading your credit union, maybe you need to sit on the right side of the plane and experience a different view of the approach into the airport. A fresh perspective is a change that would do you good.

 

Contact the author: Your Marketing Co

Contact the author: Your Marketing Co

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