Lessons Credit Unions can Learn from the Headlines

Hon. Daniel A. Mica, Principal, The DMA Groupby: Hon. Daniel A. Mica, Principal, The DMA Group

In today’s lightspeed information-sharing environment, the pursuit of truth is less interesting than the perception of fault.  Whether it’s “the leftist media” or the “conservative shock-jocks,” their audiences hear and believe whatever news they have chosen to spun. This distorted fast-paced news churn makes it all the more important for CEOs and their staffs to be vigilant in recognizing that everything we say or do is fair game to be posted, tweeted, and played on a  24-hour soundbite loop.

The Spoken Word
Take for instance, Democratic activist Hilary Rosen and her comments regarding Mrs. Romney as a stay-at-home mother. Rosen’s off-hand comment ignited a firestorm debate on working women vs homemakers and boosted Governor Romney’s polling numbers in the presidential campaign.  A reminder that a casual remark can be extrapolated to address a larger issue, even if it was not the intention of the speaker. Credit union leadership should be wise to craft all messaging in accordance to the values and core beliefs of the movement.  Be careful not to jokingly demean or insinuate anything other than altruistic motives behind the decisions made for its members.

Good Judgement
As always actions speak louder than words. In the case of the GSA scandal, the lack of judgement and the blatant disregard for the ethics and standards of public office led to the congressional investigation of fraud, bribery and misuse of taxpayers’ money.  As a CEO, I know the importance of bringing people together at a conference and while the intentions are well-meaning, leadership should remain prudent in choosing location, budget and expenses for these events. As a financial institution in today’s economy, credit unions need to be sensitive to the economic climate that has caused so many of our members to struggle during these tough times. An organization would be remiss to boast their own benefits in the face of those less fortunate.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words
My final example of the power of media and the importance for discernment are the controversial Afghanistan war photos. The decisions by Soldiers to take horrific, graphic images and the publishing of the photos by the national newspaper, have left some critics questioning their wisdom and maturity.  In any opinion, it is a stalwart reminder of the damage that can be done by the click of a camera and the posting of the image. With the accessibility of camera-phones and the limitless public avenues to share photos on the web, sometimes the moments that are captured do not always reflect the breadth and scope of the situation. It would be dreadful for anyone or any industry to be judged by one moment caught on film and shared without the proper framing.

Credit Unions remain to be seen as the “little guy” with a great reputation. Let’s keep it that way. Take this opportunity to showcase the missteps from the examples I have outlined above and highlight the importance of remaining mindful of the words, actions and images shared in conjunction with the credit union story. So that no matter which way the wind blows or the media tries to spin the machine, the credit unions always come out on top.

Dan Mica, former head of the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), established The DMA Group as a means to combine a myriad of experience into a one-stop consultancy.  Elected in 1978 to represent Florida’s 11th district in the U.S. House of Representatives, Dan Mica served five terms before beginning what would become more than two decades of work in the world of non-profits and association management.

The DMA Group is a full-service consulting firm, providing the highest level of integrity and service through established practices and decades of experience.  www.dmagroupdc.com

Daniel Mica

Daniel Mica

Dan Mica, former head of the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), established The DMA Group as a means to combine a myriad of experience into a one-stop consultancy. Elected in ... Web: www.dmagroupdc.com Details