Strategy, culture, leadership alignment is crucial for credit unions’ success

CUNA Mutual Group’s John Lass Tells Online Discovery™ Audience CUs Must Look Internally

MADISON, WI (October 1, 2013) — If credit unions are finding it necessary to switch their strategy due to the competitive nature of today’s financial marketplace, it would behoove them to make certain their culture and leadership are tooled to drive that strategy.

That was the message participants of CUNA Mutual Group’s Online Discovery Conference heard Tuesday from keynote speaker, John Lass, SVP of the company’s Strategy and Business Development unit.

“Many credit unions are at an inflection point due to market changes and they need to revisit their strategy,” Lass told attendees of CUNA Mutual Group’s fourth annual virtual event. “If you’re at that point, you need alignment among your strategy, culture and leadership team.”

In his presentation, titled “The Power of Three: Leadership + Culture + Strategy,” Lass said:  “Forces within the financial services arena are driving businesses to change their strategies, and credit unions are no exception.”

“Think about the number of retailers,  payment providers, platform players, the new regulations that you’re having to deal with and all of the new channels you have to manage and master,” Lass said. “For those reasons and more, many credit unions are at a strategic inflection point, the decisions you make today will dictate if  your business goes on to new heights, or declines.”

The strategies they employ to avoid a decline may range from being a product or pricing leader to being exceptional at customer service. Whatever strategic road they go down, Lass said it’s vitally important for a credit union to look at its culture and leadership team and determine whether they are tooled culturally, and from a leadership perspective to reach the level of success you want.

“Externally, you need to look at where your customers are and where you need to go,” Lass said. “But internally, each leader has his or her style and strengths. The right leader has to be in place to execute your strategy. It’s not about changing who the leadership is, it’s building a leadership team and culture that aligns well together.”

Online Discovery is CUNA Mutual Group’s Web-based equivalent of a face-to-face conference without the associated expenses or time away from the office. The free, online event attracted a national and international audience of more than 1,300 credit union and league staff. The conference aims to help credit unions solve problems, face challenges and address opportunities all from the convenience of their computer.

To learn more, follow @CUNAMutualGroup on Twitter, circle +CUNA Mutual Group on Google+, or visit

CUNA Mutual Group insurance, retirement and investment products provide financial security and protection to credit unions and their members worldwide. With more than 75 years of true market commitment, CUNA Mutual Group’s vision is unwavering: To be a trusted business partner who delivers service excellence through customer-focused products and market-driven insight. More information on the company is available on the company’s website at

CUNA Mutual Group is the marketing name for CUNA Mutual Holding Company, a mutual insurance holding company, its subsidiaries and affiliates. Life, accident, health and annuity insurance products are issued by CMFG Life Insurance Company. Property and casualty insurance products are issued by CUMIS Insurance Society, Inc. Each insurer is solely responsible for the financial obligations under the policies and contracts it issues. Corporate headquarters are located in Madison, Wis.

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