McKinsey & Company recently proposed a framework for helping C-level executives make critical decisions around transformation and growth. It includes three tough questions:
- Where is your growth going to come from?
- How can you grow now and tomorrow?
- How will you set up a strong growth engine?
Confronting the questions requires credit union leaders to think expansively and often through a lens of data transformation.
Question No. 1: Where is Your Credit Union’s Growth Going to Come From?
Market incumbents having the greatest success with growth today have adopted or are on their way to adopting a platform mindset.
Rather than brainstorming growth from a product-first mindset, platform thinkers consider the end-user experience first. They seek to solve problems faster, more thoroughly or in a way that’s actually enjoyable for the user.
Co-creation is another go-to strategy of the platform thinker. We see examples of providers coming together from all different walks of life to build customer-centric models that wouldn’t be possible without collaboration.
Tesla is one example. The automotive industry disruptor is bundling lifetime auto insurance with the cost of its cars. Shopping for auto insurance can be a hassle, so why not eliminate that pain point for Tesla customers?
Nike is another example. The company built its own developer network to help startups build something new using Nike’s data and technology. When shoe innovators build on top of the Nike+ platform, the incumbent learns new tricks while retaining its dominant position in the athletic footwear industry.
How can financial cooperatives – entities already wired for collaboration – work with potential disruptors to reimagine value for members?
Question No. 2: How Can You Grow Now and Tomorrow?
Exploration requires people to enter uncharted waters. Moving forward amid a series of unknowns requires testing, failing, testing again and maybe even failing again. That is uncomfortable for many leaders. But, it is how new discoveries are made.
Among the discoveries many growth-minded credit unions have made in recent years is that collaboration with non-traditional partners can be an ideal way to explore the next frontier. Consider Stanford FCU’s recently announced partnership with Google to formulate a digital checking option. Or, Consumer CU’s collaboration with Apple, Samsung and Google to facilitate the use of digital wallets. Tinker CU has added Amazon Hub Lockers to its branches to make life easier for the online shoppers among its membership.
How can your credit union link up with its own transformation ally or set of allies? As you consider partnerships through a future-state lens, you may also want to turn a critical eye toward existing vendors. Growth today requires leaders to look closer at what appears to be working well while also asking tough questions about what’s broken.
Question No. 3: How Will You Set Up a Strong Growth Engine?
When our team of data enthusiasts hears “Growth Engine,” there’s an immediate translation. Around our shop, “Growth Engine” is interpreted as “Data Engine.”
That’s because we have seen the fruits of a strategy-first approach to data analytics. When harnessed and analyzed proficiently, data becomes the key to maintaining relevancy in a fast-changing environment.
Strategic data analytics also gives credit union leaders the insight to more readily reimagine the value their cooperative can add to the lives of their members.
Digital native companies reimagine their value every day. Amazon, for example, isn’t afraid to try its hand in legacy environments, like brick-and-mortar retail or print catalogs. Why? While it’s true the company has a fail-forward, agile culture, it also has data… data that can confirm (or refute) a strategist’s hypothesis.
It’s amazing the bold leaps you can make with predictive models on your side.
Consider, too, that data is the fuel that drives consumer experiences. Gathered from a massive and growing number of sources, data turns even mundane moments into magic. I love when the Pandora app senses I’m no longer sitting at my desk, but on a jog, and automatically changes my playlist from “Relax” to “Run.” That kind of moment would not be possible without data and the associated analytics to ignite it.
By igniting their data, credit unions will transform – and achieve growth – faster. Within the movement, that means more relevant, more meaningful financial help for more people.