Viva magenta! What the 2023 Pantone® Color of the Year brings to credit unions

#18-1750. That’s the magic Pantone® Color of the Year 2023. After 2021’s snoozer Ultimate Gray and 2022’s calming Very Peri, it’s time to shake off the doldrums and launch into 2023 with some zest!

Pantone® describes Viva Magenta with the words vim & vigor, powerful & boundless, and electrifying & empowering. Not exactly the words I use to describe credit unions.

What is it about credit unions, historically the keepers of financial safety and security? Every time the Fed hiccups, we cower and hoard our coins for fear that a recession is around the corner. Not very electrifying.

Let’s hook into the feeling behind the color (Can you feel a color?). The energy a bright, positive, strong color invokes helps us focus on the word empowering. Now that’s a word we’ve used before in credit union land!

Working with credit unions for the past 20+ years, I’ve heard leadership play lip service to staff “empowerment.” We may say it, but how do we live it? And how do we live it fearlessly? Then how do we help our members do the same?

Recently I had an opportunity to work with a credit union as they launched a rebrand to focus on not only empowering their staff, but also empowering their members. The core elements we brought to the team included building expertise and confidence, bolstered by encouragement.

  1. Expertise: It’s tough to empower someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing. Yet for those co-workers who know their stuff and have earned their chops, it’s easy to let go of the controls a bit and empower them to make positive, forward-thinking decisions. If you’ve got a group of new staff, asking them to feel empowered can backfire on you as they function with conscious incompetence. They know what they don’t know and no matter how much you tell them they’re empowered, you won’t see the results of a truly empowered team until they reach expertise in their core functions.
  2. Confidence: Having expertise is the first step. Having the confidence to step into your decisions is something else entirely. By encouraging your experts to make informed decisions without your meddling (Yes, you do meddle!) you begin to foster greater empowerment among staff. Another way to build that confidence is to have your experts teach and coach their colleagues to build proficiency across the entire team.
  3. Encouragement: Once you’ve got an expert and have built up their confidence, don’t leave them to wonder whether they’ve made the right decision. Encourage them with well-placed kudos to inspire them even further. Let them know you’re noticing their good work – and invite the rest of the team to recognize their newfound expertise as well.

From our friends at Pantone®, “Viva Magenta offers us the assurance and motivation we need to weather long-term disruptive events. Viva Magenta cloaks us in both power and grace, and sends us out into the world with the verve we’ve yearned for.”

What more could we ask for than to send our entire team into the world with power, grace, and verve? Grab your magenta scarf and break boldly into a positive and powerful new year! Yes 2023!!

My team at CU Difference is passionate about helping your team recognize that working for your credit union is more than a job. From optimizing the member experience to building staff capability, we have developed programs that will teach your team how to act on the credit union difference. Reach out to learn more.

Angela Prestil

Angela Prestil

As Senior Consultant for CU Difference, Angela brings a distinct specialty set in the critical areas of employee engagement, leadership development, and member loyalty strategies. She has helped hundreds of ... Details