New year, new you, new credit union

Well, it’s finally here – 2015. A new year beckons, full of promise and opportunity. A lot of people kick off this time of year with resolutions. Most of these resolutions are personal, things like getting in better shape, saving more or pursuing some new hobby or activity.

If people can have resolutions for the New Year, then why not your credit union? After all, the first few weeks of the New Year are a great and fresh time to start your year off on the right foot, either as a person or as a credit union. Following are resolutions your credit union might want to consider in 2015.

  • Live your brand. This should crack everybody’s top-five list of resolutions. Your credit union’s brand is the single most important asset it has. And it’s not even listed on the balance sheet. If you are failing to live up to your brand, your credit union is breaking its promise to every existing and potential member.
    • Ways to make this resolution work: Reinforce with your staff, every day in some way, the importance of living the brand. Hold them accountable to the brand and highlight employees who do a good job living the brand in such a way that their peers can see it.
  • Live your plan. Most credit unions go through some sort of annual strategic planning process in the third or fourth quarter. Odds are, your credit union invested a lot of time, money and energy in the strategic planning process. Unfortunately, many times strategic planning meetings end with the best of intentions and then simply gather dust on the shelf for another year.
    • Ways to make this resolution work: Your strategic plan is only as good as your implementation. For example, you may front-end load the strategic plan with way too much stuff in the first quarter of the New Year. The reality is that most of these things cannot be accomplished so quickly. Another example — develop many great ideas during your strategic planning process, then fail to assign persons responsible and timelines to those initiatives. For every actionable item in your strategic plan, make sure the right people are in charge of steering it and that they are aware of the time frames involved in doing so.
  • Kill the status quo. This is perhaps the deadliest of foes that most credit unions will face. Like any other creature of habit, credit unions are highly susceptible to falling into a rut. If you allow this to happen, your competition will gladly step up and pioneer new ways to develop and introduce innovative financial products and services for members.
    • Ways to make this resolution work: Don’t be afraid of change! Yes, change is difficult and full of anxiety. The opposite of change, however, is stagnation. Fish don’t want to live in a stagnant pond and neither do your members. Keep up with what is new in the industry. Read relevant magazines, trade journals, blogs and social media platforms. Connect with your peers, both inside and outside the credit union industry. And don’t be afraid to take new ideas and thoughts to your executive management team. As great a job as they do, they don’t have all the answers and it’s going to take every voice at your credit union to produce the kind of change evolution requires.

The first few weeks of a New Year are an exciting time. The trick becomes keeping that excitement and determination alive in February, March and beyond. By starting 2015 with a few New Year’s resolutions for your credit union, you can help ensure its success not only this year, but for years to come. These are just a few ideas for your credit union. What others do you have?

Mark Arnold

Mark Arnold

Mark Arnold is an acclaimed speaker, brand expert and strategic planner helping businesses such as credit unions and banks achieve their goals with strategic marketing insights and energized training. Mark ... Web: Details