Originally published on CUInsight.com

According to the Internet, everyone loves lists. Hey, you’re here, right? Well, I just bought a house and have been learning a LOT. Here’s my Top 5. Oh, and they apply to your credit union, too.

1. There’s always another task.

Ok, so after closing on the house, I knew there would be items to address both short and long-term. But who knew the list would never end? (Apparently everyone else who already owns a house) It’s easy to go from one to the next and never consider yourself “finished”, because, task 105, that’s why! I’ll keep at it, but with an eye on the goal. Otherwise, I’d never move in. It has to be the same with your credit union efforts. Your members don’t see your hard work, only the released products, services, and promotions. And if you’re always working in the tasks, you have no time to serve your members.

2. Perfection is a great way to never get the next thing started.

I spent an hour painting the trim on my laundry room door. And that was just the hallway side. It looks amazing. But there’s a wall next to it, and another next to that one. What was the last thing you obsessed over for just a bit too long? And could anyone else tell the difference?

3. One fix can cause another problem to crop up.

“I’ll just screw this new outlet cover on here and be on my way…wait, why are the plugs not lining up?” I like to think of this as the “dirty fluids keep my car running smoothly” syndrome. On my first car, I changed the transmission fluids at around 65,000 miles, according to manufacturer recommendations. It never shifted the same again. Suspicion by the techs was that the system had developed some imperfection and the more caustic fluids “hid” the issue. When I put in the clean and flowing fluid, it washed away the “dirty protection”. Your credit union may not be a noisy transmission, but be aware when you’re making simple fixes you are also ready to address deeper issues that may surface.

4. It’s tough to see the improvement when you’re steeped in it everyday.

To me, the house looks incrementally better than at closing. When a friend who has seen it at various phases visits, they are blown away by the changes. I’m there every day, up against the walls, head inside cabinets, and high up on ladders. They have only fixed points of observation. It’s the same with your members. You’re in the figurative mud, but they visit your website, app, or branch only when needed. A series of slight changes/improvements is a splash of color for them. Always look at things from your member’s perspective.

5. As the owner, it rests with me to make it better.

This house is no rental property. If I’m not there working on it, no one is (well, maybe dad). The responsibility to make the walls cleaner, the flooring brighter, and the atmosphere welcoming rests solely with me. Since your credit union is a cooperative, there are a bunch of owners. It’s up to the entire team, non-staff members included, to drive the improvements. It’s an empowering position, and one you should ensure both your staff and members understand. We are all aiming to make our “properties” home.