It’s time for everyone to step up their game (and here’s an easy way to get started)

“People are very open-minded about new things—as long as they’re exactly like the old ones.”   -Charles Kettering

One of my favorite books is Change is Good…You Go First by Mac Anderson and Tom Feltenstein. The title says it all and speaks volumes about the way we tend to look at the idea of doing things differently.

It’s a natural, human response. On the one hand we prefer continuing to do what we know, what feels comfortable, and what we perceive as safe. On the other hand we fear venturing into the unknown, facing an increased risk of failure, and coming to grips with the possibility that we were wrong.

However there is only one constant in life, and that constant is change.

If you are going to lead in any capacity today, then you need to raise your game—to understand change, accept change, and cause change (frequently).

Nowhere is this more important for credit unions than in the area of governance. More specifically in pushing to have (current and future) board members step up their game so they are better equipped to fulfill their responsibilities.

OK, I know that I am treading into difficult territory here. And I fully understand the urge to push back against an argument for changing things that have created past success.

But the fact is that the world of boards is changing in both the for-profit and not-for-profit worlds. A recent post on the Harvard Business Review website shares a number of valuable insights that credit union board leaders would be well served to consider (it is a must read for all CU leaders).

The post reveals that it’s not just about who is willing to serve, but rather about their capacity to contribute, the quality and relevance of their experience, their areas of expertise, and their understanding of strategy.

From where I sit as someone who has had the privilege of facilitating planning sessions for credit unions for the past 15 years, the article reminded me of the importance of board members (and frankly all CU leaders) committing to develop their capacity to lead—the most important way they can step up their game and increase their impact.

I know, you already have enough to do and there’s just not time for one more thing.

But consider this…

If you schedule just 10 minutes per day five days each week to expand your knowledge and understanding of the strategic challenges and opportunities facing your credit union you will end up investing more than 40 hours in building your capacity this year.

Can you imagine what you might learn in over 40 hours and how that might enable you to be more effective in leading your credit union?

Here are some possible ways to invest your 10 minutes each day:

  1. Read one or more of the credit union industry daily e-mails—skim, scan, and scroll the posts and pick one or two that capture your interest
  2. Read a business focused blog like the one from the Harvard Business Review mentioned in this article
  3. Skim a magazine that you wouldn’t normally read to broaden your perspective on today’s marketplace
  4. Watch a business or financial news program on TV
  5. Search for videos related to business, financial services, marketing, technology, or other concepts of interest and watch a couple
  6. Check out a visit and watch a TedTalk on a subject of interest
  7. Have coffee with someone who isn’t familiar with your credit union and gain their insights

You get the idea—find ways to explore and build your knowledge about the world of business and what it takes to succeed today, as well as what it will take to succeed tomorrow, and you’ll become a more valuable leader for your credit union.

So how will you invest your 10 minutes tomorrow?

Michael Hudson

Michael Hudson

Dr. Michael Hudson started his first business when he was just 7 years old...riding his bicycle from house to house selling greeting cards and holiday gifts. Since then he ... Web: Details