Rock & Roll for Credit Unions 2: You Get What You Give

by Bo McDonald, Your Marketing Co

Did you ever hear of The New Radicals? This one-hit-wonder band from the late 1990’s was pretty eccentric. There was only ever one consistent band member, Gregg Alexander. He penned the band’s only hit single, You Get What You Give.

New Radicals – You Get What You Give

The one lonely hit from New Radicals is a song of hope. One music blogger described it like this: A song about perseverance, self-belief, optimism, staying true to yourself, going for your dreams, enjoying your life, not caring what people think and believing that if you give you will be rewarded.

We recently played the song during a YMC team meeting. I asked each person to tell me what they got from the song. One of my team members said, “Remembering your dream.” Those three words to put the song into perspective.

I often talk with credit union executives whose dreams have been trampled by the monotony of the daily tasks that come from running a credit union. The mission of the credit union has been replaced with the desire to just keep their head above water. The dreams of a young energetic executive have changed with the jaded one-liners of a tired jack-of-all-trades.

The YMC team pulled two lessons from picking apart the New Radicals hit song:

1.  You Get What You Give: The title is a mouthful. Often we sit in our office sending orders to the front line, demanding more cross-selling and better attitudes. But we never give the “why” behind those orders. Cross-selling is a necessity so the credit union can make more money, right? Wrong. But your team is only giving to you what they’re getting from you. Don’t forget the “why” behind your credit union mission statement. If you order more cross-selling and provide more binders full of hundreds of pages of training material watch out. You’ll be enjoying a dreamless team that’s punching a time clock and only (maybe if you’re lucky) doing what is asked of them. You won’t hear these lyrics in the song, but Gregg Alexander included these “unspoken lyrics in the liner notes of the album.
People unaware they’re bleeding. No one with a brain is believing. It’s so sad you lost the meaning. Never knew it anyway. Human nature’s so predictable.

It’s sad that many have lost the meaning. If it’s true you get what you give, then it’s time to start giving your credit union team some inspiration. It doesn’t come in the form of a training book or a guy in a suit with a PowerPoint in your boardroom. It comes from the stories of your members. Think of the member who transferred his credit card balance and saved $16,000 in interest. Or the member who was taken for a ride by the car dealership then refinanced his auto loan at the credit union and saved $9,000. Maybe it was the member who was given a second chance by the specialized products and services that your credit union provides. When you take away the numbers and replace them with names it becomes real. It’s not about how many loans you can do but about how many people you can help. And guess what? The more people you help, the more your credit union grows.

2.  You’ve got the music in you: Stop the pity party and realize your full potential. It doesn’t matter what your asset size is or the challenges you face, you can pull through if you choose to. Just like the opening lyrics to this song:
But when the night is falling, And you cannot find the light. If you you’re your dream is dying, Hold tight, You’ve got the music in you, Don’t let go. You’ve got the music in you. One dance left, This world is gonna pull through. Don’t give up.
Remember why your credit union was founded in the first place. There were unbanked people, many being taken advantage of by predatory lending. Although that may have been decades ago, many Americans are facing the same issues in 2013. If your credit union is living up to its potential, you never know just how you may positively impact people. You can choose to have a line of uninspired tellers taking orders all day, or you can inspire your team to be a source of help to each person they encounter everyday. The team member at your credit union who doesn’t offer to transfer a member’s credit card balance may feel better about not having to ask that question. But could they sleep at night knowing that they’re allowing someone to pay $16,000 more than they need to on credit card interest?

You Get What You Give. It’s time to give your staff the inspiration they need to help your members, and give them less snake oil training. Hold tight, you’ve got the music in you. Don’t let go, and by all means don’t give up! Your members need you right now. Choose to set a goal of making a difference in one member everyday and share those stories. Replace the numbers with names and you’ll pull through!

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: Details