The killer “but”

Knowing what we should do, or need to do, or want to do—but not following through and doing that thing—is killing us.

I recently spent time at a credit union summit for shops of $100M in assets or less, designed to give them the straight and narrow about how to do more with less and stay afloat in today’s choppy financial services waters. No small task by any means, and a serious challenge for any credit union really, not just the little guys.

I know as sure as I know anything these credit union leaders don’t want to sink their ships, and yet time and time again I heard phrases like “I know we need to get remote deposit technology but… We really should have a responsive design website, but…. I’d love for us to have an active presence on social media, but… We’ve tried programs to attract and retain younger members, but…” They’d fill in the rest of those sentences with sad stories about lacking the time, resources, budget, support, prioritization, buy-in, capacity and so on. Honestly legitimate-sounding excuses, but excuses nonetheless.

Your dentist doesn’t care…

If you go to the dentist and explain to him or her just how much you would like to brush your teeth, BUT… (the dentist stops listening here). It doesn’t matter. The equation works like this: brush your teeth or loose your teeth. There aren’t many other choices. That BUT is literally killing you.

Its no different if you’re a credit union leader and you care about sticking around to serve a community that’s counting on you as much as you care about keeping your teeth. We all have ‘but’ statements to end our explanations of why we aren’t or don’t or can’t do what we know we should. Your members are counting on you and you care enough to stick around to serve them. They need certain things from you and aren’t going to be too sympathetic to why you can’t provide what they need. And eventually they may seek other options, often not in their best interest financially.

Its time to get rid of those buts. When so much is at stake its time to get serious, get scrappy, get creative, get where we need to be with what we have to work with, with no buts about it.

Here are some things you can do to banish the buts and get what you need:

Skills – hire people who understand why your purpose is so important, who share your passion and determination – and teach skills. It’s much easier to teach someone how to be a teller or a loan officer than to care about making a difference in the lives of financially underserved members of your community. With a sense of shared passion, your employees will bring you innovative new ideas to do more with less, surprise you by applying skills you didn’t know they had, step up to be the credit union’s next leaders and be your biggest voice and brand advocates.

Collaboration – Think you’re the only one who struggles with what you face? Think there’s no one else going through this right now with you? Reach out to your peers and not only get advice and support from them but to take on these challenges together. The cooperative values teach us we are stronger together, so act on that by teaming up with other shops to pool resources and come up with creative ways to get the essential things you need without breaking your back or budget. For example, Filene offers social media strategy support to groups of small credit unions as a way to make this work more possible for all credit unions. It often comes down to just asking.

Shared expertise and support systems – Your credit union may be small or tapped out, but it doesn’t mean it’s all alone. There are many ways this industry supports and leans on each other for our collective growth and success. System partners, leagues, associations, professional groups and helpful experts are everywhere you turn. I’m always answering credit union’s social media questions, pointing them to resources to get started  in social media, finding ways to help them create strategies within their constraints and providing free resources like research reports and webinars. I recently held a webinar that explains a DIY process to create an effective social media content strategy.

With the right skills, a little collaboration, and the support of our friends, there is no reason to let our buts bring us down.

Start right here, right now—reach out to me and ask how you should get started on social media, or how you can accomplish better results though your current social media efforts.

Holly Fearing

Holly Fearing

Holly lives and breathes social media; if you can’t find her IRL, try reaching out on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook or Instagram, and you’ll likely get her right away. ... Web: Details