Credit Union Geek

Marketing, Strategy, and The Force by Joe Winn

Tag: teamwork

Are You Bluetooth Or WiFi? Why Not Be Both! (Part 2)

When this blog was much younger, I shared a post asking if you were Bluetooth or WiFi.  The premise was simple: Bluetooth represented slower and small-scale, with the added benefit of low-energy. You could make numerous connections nearby and interact with them all seamlessly.  Does that sound like you?  If not, perhaps you were WiFi.  Like your electronic namesake, it stood for high-speed, long reach, and high energy.  Decisions happened quickly, decisively, and everything was high-energy.  However, everything came back to a central location, rather than the point-to-point nature of Bluetooth (Mesh WiFi wasn’t yet a thing).

One wasn’t better than the other, simply a different approach.  Which is necessary in our varied industry.  What works in one place may not provide the same results elsewhere.

And then I got myself an Apple Watch.

What does that have to do with the topic?  As I learned about its capabilities, I discovered an interesting feature.  The normal operation is for the watch to remain connected to my iPhone through Bluetooth (the Low Energy standard, actually, taking our previous metaphor to the next level).  However, if the phone is not available or otherwise out of range, the watch will attempt to connect to known WiFi networks.  It’s the fallback, since, as you learned, WiFi uses more power, thus decreasing the battery life.  Yet the watch adapts as it must.

An important lesson the watch brings to us all.

If you read the original and, before finishing, exclaimed, “yes, I’m definitely WiFi,” take this opportunity to…slow…down…and…look…around.  Switch to Bluetooth and see if there’s anything you can bring from its close-knit and low-energy platform.  On the other hand, if you studied each sentence of the first post, deliberated over it, shared with your close colleagues, then decided that you seem to be Bluetooth, there’s value for you, too.  Go outside your comfort zone.  Give that SVP acquaintenance of yours a call.  You know, the one who exhausts you just by talking.  And if you’re that SVP, force yourself to slow down and connect with your immediate network.  Recharge, breathe (as my Apple Watch just guided me through a “mindfulness” session), and absorb what you can from your calm, collected colleague.

When I wrote the first post, I made a mistake.  I assumed (you know what happens then!) you could only be one or the other.  Why limit yourself?  Be like my Apple Watch and do what works best for the situation, your credit union, and your members.  And be sure to close your rings!

Image credit: https://openclipart.org

All Packed…Except For That One Thing

Special Sunday Post! If you’ve read it, make me really happy during my travels and comment or share it with your network!

Disclosure: This is written from a personal perspective, and not for an overnight business trip. I am heading to Peru to hike the Inca Trail up to Machu Picchu! Given I live in Florida, I own neither high-altitude nor cold weather gear, at all. Imagine that the next time you shovel snow higher than your car. (It’s ok, during the summer, I can make jokes like this.)

Getting ready for a trip is handled many different ways. Are you the:

  • List-maker
  • Obsessive checker
  • Last-minute packer
  • Let others do it slacker
  • Carefree tosser
  • Organized chaos manager
  • Confident stuffer

Like a shape-shifting alien, you can be all of them at once!

In my preparations, I embraced my “-ers”. Initially, I was overwhelmed. “Basically, it’s impossible.” Then I made a list, and another, and still another. Today, I can tell you 90% of them were useless. But, they helped me transition into my next phase: Obsessive checker. “Do I have this? Perhaps, but better take everything out just to be sure.” Welcome to stressed, enjoy your stay. So I decided to wait until I knew more, when the trip was closer in time. You know, when other people could contribute. That’s not slacking, right?

Carefree tossing is not my style, but earlier today, I looked upon organized chaos and thought, “Manage this!” Each item was placed on my bed, photographed, and given the go/no-go decision right then and there. Sorry Margaritaville shirt, you’re not going to Peru. Pulling my shoulders back (it’s important for posture, especially when carrying the pack…has nothing to do with confidence), I began stuffing the chosen ones into the bag. Cinched tight, clips secured; this is what will come with me on the trail.

I forgot something. No idea what, but it’s important.

And that’s where you can fall into a cycle of inaction. If you’ve been reading my posts, you should know at what point the topic relates to your credit union. The time has come.

Every initiative has a plan, with preparations to support. Like packing for a trip. The “-ers” stop by your branch with glee. You can even name the people exemplified by each (except the slacker; credit unions are only filled with doers). Together, they make success happen. In fact, one could argue their necessity. If your credit union were filled with list makers, not much would get done, but it would be laid out in spreadsheet/presentation elegance. However, having steps all can follow helps keep everyone on the same figurative page. The obsessive checker catches what might be otherwise missed. A last minute push ensures final challenges are overcome. And so on.

The image that comes to mind is herding cats. It may be challenging, requiring specialized skills and a lot of patience, yet when done, a fluffy pile of meows and purrs emerges.

Or a successful program, even if it includes zero cats.

Now, where did that little fur-ball go?

Image credit: “80 – Machu Picchu – Juin 2009 – edit.2” by Martin St-Amant (S23678) – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:80_-_Machu_Picchu_-_Juin_2009_-_edit.2.jpg#/media/File:80_-_Machu_Picchu_-_Juin_2009_-_edit.2.jpg

Beyond Your Bank

40 million people in the U.S. belong to one of these. Over 100 million people hold membership with this. Enjoy the outdoors? Chances are, you’ve purchased from the largest of its kind in America.

What do these mysterious organizations have in common? They are all cooperatives. The first? Electric co-ops, where members own the entire distribution network. The second you should recognize: Credit unions! Finally, that last one is a bit surprising…REI, the outfitters, and the largest consumer cooperative in the country.

Besides being interesting factoids for your next trivia competition, how can this knowledge help?

Before answering, let’s take a step back. A few weeks back, I spoke with staff at CU Social Good, where they are collecting hard data of credit unions’ positive impacts on their communities. They lamented the challenges in getting them to “brag” about their accomplishments, which is why they’ve created a site doing just that. Remember, credit unions don’t like to talk about their community efforts. What can I say, they’re modest! However, it was not lost on anyone at CU Social Good that there was significant value going unrecognized.

Filene Research Institute set out to understand the situation. They conducted a study on co-op partnerships. Yes, cooperatives cooperating. Turns out, there’s opportunity to be had!

You can read the major results of the study on Filene’s site (it’s well-worth the read), but here’s the gist: Credit unions can grow by working with other cooperatives. In fact, it is the primary differentiator they can embrace between themselves and for-profit banks. The possibilities are significant (my examples):

  • Working with a food co-op to offer members an easy place to pick up their weekly produce (and encourage to join the CU)
  • Helping finance the startup costs involved with a housing initiative aimed at putting dry roofs over more residents
  • Provide additional savings for your electic co-op as a member paying through your CU account
  • And much more

Each of these organizations is focused on something beyond the bottom line and the membership is the barometer of their success. Imagine if each worked together to expand their own initiatives while promoting their fellow organization!

We truly have not even scratched the surface of what co-ops working together can produce. I look forward to the continued partnerships and cross-pollination between organizations.

Once again, take a look at the study by the Filene Research Institute (full report is available for all member credit unions and staff) and brainstorm how your credit union can grow while helping other co-ops!

Disclosure: I am a credit union member. My family owns property serviced by an electric co-op. I’m a fan of both.

Image credit: https://ravereader.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/endor_celebration.jpg

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