Taking risks is taking steps forward

Typically, individuals and businesses start the new year by taking an assessment of where they stand and setting challenges for the next 12 months. This could mean an exercise regimen for an individual or some new product initiative for a retailer.

Why not get started early and begin that progressive thinking now, in the last few days of the year?

An established business maxim goes something like this: “If you’re not experiencing failures, you’re not taking enough risks.”

While this is not an open admonishment to fail, it is a terrific reminder that if we’re not trying new things, we’re not likely to experience either the learning aspect of failure or the success aspect of achievement. To challenge your credit union before the new year even starts, ask yourself a similar question: “Is our credit union taking enough risks to be successful in the rapidly changing financial retail environment?”

Only you know the answer to this question. However, there are three key areas in which most credit unions could easily look to establish whether or not they are taking enough risks.

Marketing: Are you pushing the envelope in reaching both members and potential members? Are you trying new things and using new tools to emotionally impact and persuade members to become a part of your credit union experience?If not, it’s likely you’re not taking enough risks in marketing. A terrific way to assess your current marketing risk-taking status is with a marketing audit. A marketing audit takes a deep-dive look at your entire marketing array, including traditional collateral materials, digital marketing, your website, as well as mystery shops of both your own branches and those of your competitors. A marketing audit provides both strategic and tactical recommendations to help ensure your marketing machine is well-oiled, efficient and taking enough risks to be successful.

Member Experience: Are you confident you have your finger on the true pulse of what your members need and expect? If not, you’re likely not taking enough risks when it comes to your member experience.A great method to help better define, deliver and measure the success of your member experience is by going through a journey mapping exercise and subsequent member experience training. By doing this, you help ensure you are providing a member experience that offers clarity, consistency and constancy at all points of contact (including every branch, in the drive-throughs, via phone and email, etc.).

Journey mapping and member experience training empower all staff to interact with each other (internal culture) and with members (external culture) in such a way that builds both camaraderie and deeper, more meaningful ties. Journey mapping and member experience training transforms all your employees from task-driven worker bees into culture-evangelizing brand ambassadors.

Strategic Planning: Is your credit union taking enough risks when it comes to strategic planning? Even if your strategic planning session had already been completed this year, it’s never too early to think about next year. Many credit unions run the risk of slouching into a “strategic planning rut,” either sticking to what is safe and secure or setting up plans that far exceed practical reality (bandwidth, resources, etc).

Setting your sights higher on a different kind of strategic planning session is a calculated and necessary risk. Your next planning session must accomplish progressive goals like engaging all participants to speak up, establish an actual strategic plan (and not just a glorified “to-do” list) and, critically, introduce the element of fun into the process. You’re not likely to accomplish much of any real strategic importance at your session unless you’re having fun as a group. Reaching out to a facilitator that can help achieve these goals can help put the zing back into your strategic planning sessions and empower the entire process.

Taking risks can be scary. Taking risks is also necessary for success. Microsoft took a huge risk when it through its Xbox at the dominant video game platform in Sony’s Playstation. Apple gambled big when it decided to take on the cell phone world. Uber rolled the dice when it took on the entire taxi cab industry. Risks can pay big.

What risks will your credit union take in the coming months and years?

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: www.markarnold.com Details