ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr by: Paul AblackLast week in my blog, Credit Union Industry Disruption: NACUSO 2015 – Part 1, I talked about the pending threat of Big Bang Disruption in the financial services industry and the growing prominence of predictive analytics. In this second and final blog on the learnings from the NACUSO 2015 conference, I will cover what we learned about how credit unions can respond to Big Bang Disruption and the strategic importance of Predictive Analytics.In my Part 1 blog, I summarized the portion of the presentation by John Lass, Lass Advisory Services (www.cunamutual.com) that outlined the threats facing the credit union industry. The latter part of his presentation provided four recommendations on how credit unions should respond to industry disruption:Be Alert – pay attention to your competitionPay Attention to the clock – things change very quickly as the taxi industry is realizing with UBER.Use defense to buy time – John referenced using a legislative approach; this will buy time but it is not a fixDevelop an offensive strategy – this is the only way to long term prosperityIn his closing comments Mr. Lass referred to the book “Only the Paranoid Survive”, by Intel CEO Andy Grove, as a template for how CEOs should constantly challenge their business model. Many businesses get trapped by the own strategy and process to the point where they are unable to respond to competitive challenges. continue reading »
43SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Paul Robert Paul Robert has been helping financial institutions drive their retail growth strategies for over 20 years. Paul is the Chief Executive Officer for FI Strategies, LLC, a private consulting company … Web: fi-strategies.com Details This time of the year, two “seasons” make me think of coaching and leadership: football season and strategic planning season.No other sport has produced as many coaching icons as football. Vince Lombardi, Tom Landry, Bear Bryant, Lou Holtz … google “coaching” topics and your search results will be full of football leaders. There are numerous coaching metaphors derived from football. Why is that you don’t hear nearly as much about baseball managers or hockey coaches being such great leaders?What’s most interesting about the popularity of football coaches is the attention is almost always given to the head coach, even though they don’t do the grunt-work. The head coach doesn’t develop the game plan (that’s usually the coordinator’s job); they don’t teach the execution of plays (that’s the position coach’s job); and they don’t provide the necessary resources (unless we’re talking about inflating the footballs and you’re coaching the New England Patriots).Head football coaches set the focus and direction of the organization. They establish the standards for performance. They create the necessary culture to allow the team to be successful. They orchestrate all the components so it reaches the desired crescendo at the end of the season. They’re leading the charge but very rarely are they involved in the grunt-work.Similarly, strategic planning is the time each year when the leaders of credit unions exert themselves to set the direction of the organization for next year and beyond. Or, unfortunately, in some cases I should say they do not exert themselves. For too many, strategic planning is merely a function mandated by the Board but carries no real long-lasting significance with the leadership team. It was a great Saturday offsite session where everyone got to wear blue jeans and there was great food but nothing of substance was produced to drive the credit union’s performance for very far into the future.Like the head football coach, leadership and coaching should occur every day from each senior exec throughout the business year but, in particular, it should be prominent this time of the year as you strive for that crescendo of meeting end-of-year goals and building plans and momentum for 2016. Strategizing during this season should be the foundation for your leadership efforts for the future.In credit union land today, there seems to be significant gaps in the quality of leadership across the industry. Many credit unions have senior leaders retiring but haven’t done a good job of grooming the next generation. Others have senior leaders who are learning on the job – quite honestly they were underqualified when promoted and are now playing catch-up. And other senior leaders are new and fresh but struggling to overturn tired, old cultures that are resisting the new direction.In each of these cases, extraordinary leadership is required. Following are six characteristics that leaders and senior teams should instill in order to successfully lead your organization into 2016 and beyond:Set crystal clear expectations – at the credit union level and every level below. Every employee in the organization should know specifically what they need to do day-in and day-out to positively contribute to the credit union’s ultimate success. Focus on specific behaviors and train those skills; assign production goals and communicate performance related to those goals on a consistent basis; show how everyone’s production is driving the common good and making the team successful. Too many credit unions function in reactionary mode – they’re like first-grade soccer players chasing the ball wherever it goes. Setting crystal clear expectations will help keep everyone focused on their role, no matter where the soccer ball goes.Once you set expectations, now you’re forced to hold people accountable. Without accountability, your goals next year will be ignored and your vision will never be attained. Let me be clear on one fundamental of this matter: accountability is not just negative – don’t forget about positive accountability! Celebrating successes when they occur is just as important as cracking the whip when it needs to be cracked. The best way to hold your credit union accountable is by consistently communicating performance. Don’t wait until the end of the year to share results – do it monthly, weekly, daily. In most instances, leaders who avoid negative accountability should’ve addressed the issue a long time ago. Open and frequent conversation about performance allows you to deal with singular snowflakes instead of snow balls that lead to avalanches.When you set them, set goals high but attainable. Make goals hard enough that your team will need to go above and beyond what they’ve done in the past in order to reach them. Don’t be satisfied with the same level of planning, effort, and performance. That’s not leadership, that’s managing. Lead your people to higher levels of personal and team production. Get them to strive for more and then give them a reason to feel great about their accomplishments. There’s a “Law of Limited Performance” I learned earlier in my career that says: your staff gravitates to the level of performance their leader expects. If you set the bar low, the staff will gravitate to low performance. If you set it high they will gravitate to higher levels. It doesn’t take a leader to realize low or the same levels of performance – it takes leadership and coaching to get individuals and teams to achieve higher levels of performance.Exude confidence when leading. I used to work for a boss who’d say, “You can’t lead a cavalry charge if you think you look funny sitting on a horse.” It sounds silly but it’s true. Sit tall in the saddle and your troops will follow suit. Your staff will live the vision if you do. They will strive for higher goals if you do. They will step out of their comfort zone if you do. Speaking, acting, and living confidently will go a long way in giving them the confidence that they will be successful, too. You shouldn’t be arrogant, of course, but arrogance and confidence are two different traits. Confidence is rooted in trust and belief; arrogance is based on a perception of self-importance. Displaying unvarnished trust and belief in your team and your strategy and your ability to succeed is exuding leadership confidence.In addition to confidence, display enthusiasm and passion. Enthusiasm about the organization’s future. Passion about the credit union’s mission. These qualities won’t be inherent in your staff (especially new hires) so they’re going to have to be instilled by you. Speak frequently about the credit union and what you’re achieving, even if it’s not always positive. Have open and honest communications about what’s working and not working – town hall meetings oftentimes work great. Take staff members to lunch or conduct small group meetings outside the office. Make it a point to have frequent one-on-one interactions with every employee. Let them see, hear, and feel your passion and enthusiasm so it permeates into their love of performance and motivate them to success.While personal interaction is key you must also know your role and stay at a leadership level. In a previous job, I was part of a study of executives and managers of various retail organizations. At every level of the low performing companies we found that the leaders were performing the jobs of the position 2-3 levels below them in the organization. They weren’t strategizing or goal-setting like they should; they were pushing papers or producing widgets – tasks their staff was hired to do. Get off the battlefield and get up on the hill where you can see if your strategy is working! Your team will value you more as a leader if they see you doing leadership things. Get them the resources they need. Remove the obstacles that frustrate them. Motivate them with the rewards and recognition they desire. You can’t lead if you’re stuck in the weeds … and your staff needs you to lead.Also in that research mentioned above a key finding was that a retail company’s success at a specific location is dependent on one thing: the leadership from the store executives. It didn’t matter which market or who the competition was. It didn’t matter what the pricing or promotion strategy was. It didn’t even matter what sales people were assigned to each store. By far, the number one driver of success was how effective the execs were at leading their teams. You could take a strong leader and transfer them to a weak store, regardless of the circumstances, and, in a reasonable amount of time, the performance would improve significantly and in almost every instance that “weak” store became “strong”.With that research finding as a basis, the time has never been better for credit union execs to maximize their leadership performance. Most of you are experiencing some kind of transformation in executive leadership – it’s already happened or will be happening soon. Most of you have looked at your previous business plans and realized the old way will not suffice in the new world. Use this “season” to assess the quality of your leadership culture and strategize to make it your primary focus for a “strong” 2016. Maximizing the coaching and leadership, especially at the senior level, and incorporating the six characteristics above will position your credit union for maximized performance in the future.If your credit union needs to enhance your coaching and leadership culture, my firm would be happy to help. Please contact me at [email protected] or 636-578-3280.
The football world is bracing itself for some typically brutal observations when Sir Alex Ferguson’s biography is released. With an afternoon press conference to follow, Ferguson will again capture attention in a way successor David Moyes can only dream of. In an article on Saturday, journalist Paul Hayward, who was responsible for committing Ferguson’s words to print, stated: “Ferguson decided several years ago to revisit the upheavals of the past decade, and to examine how he maintained control in the face of changes in United’s ownership, the rise of player power and the new threats posed by Roman Abramovich’s Chelsea and the Middle-Eastern wealth of Manchester City.” Hayward also stated Ferguson “recalls the great players he has managed”, listing Roy Keane, Cristiano Ronaldo and David Beckham, and “shares his thoughts on Arsene Wenger, Jose Mourinho and Rafa Benitez”. The last name itself gives an idea of what to expect. In both public and private, Ferguson rarely had a good word to say about Benitez. He once described the Spaniard as “a baby” and will doubtless find many reasons to undermine Benitez, currently boss at Napoli, not least the failed attempt to prise Gabriel Heinze out of Old Trafford. That is just one of a number of reasons to anticipate the book getting a frosty reception at Liverpool. The fall-out from the racism row that ended with Luis Suarez getting an eight-match ban for abusing Patrice Evra should be covered, and that will not reflect well on Kenny Dalglish, with whom Ferguson had previous history anyway. Although his relations with Wenger eased considerably during the latter days of his Old Trafford reign, it will be interesting to see whether Ferguson touches on Arsenal’s failure to secure any silverware since the Gunners beat United in the 2005 FA Cup final, or the ‘Pizzagate’ row from 2004. While the contents have been kept a closely guarded secret, few expect Ferguson’s view of life since Manchester United’s historic 1999 Treble triumph to be bland. Indeed, there is so much ground to be covered that barely a page will be turned without some fascinating insight from the man whose managerial career ended in May with a record 13th Premier League title. Ferguson’s view of Keane will be significant, with an expectant public really wanting to know the content of that infamous MUTV interview in 2005 which got pulled from the schedules because of the damning criticisms of so many young team-mates and eventually led to the Irishman’s abrupt exit. And then there is Beckham, the most recognisable face of English football, scarred by a boot Ferguson sent flying across the Old Trafford dressing room, and his relationship and subsequent marriage to a member of the Spice Girls. Peter Kenyon’s part in failing to secure the services of Ronaldinho in 2003, the Football Association and referees are all fertile ground, and then there is Wayne Rooney. Had Ferguson remained at Old Trafford, Rooney would surely have been shown the exit door. As it is Ferguson will need to tiptoe round the matter carefully so as not to cause Moyes any problems. Press Association