Credit Union Geek

Marketing, Strategy, and The Force by Joe Winn

Tag: ted talk

What Would Your Members Say?

Originally published on CUInsight.com

Imagine a room filled with your members. All of them. Ones who have made your credit union their primary financial institution and those who hardly know you exist. Offer each a blank index card.

A third grade teacher in Denver did this exercise with her students. What was asked of them? To write down what they wished their teacher knew about their lives. They could add their name or leave it anonymous. Surprising truths flowed. One explained how homework was challenging because they didn’t have pencils at home. Another lamented delays in getting their mom’s signature on school forms because they didn’t see her often. It was a moving exercise, and offered valuable, if heartbreaking, advice to the teacher.

Before getting back to the credit union talk, let’s make it clear: Teachers like her are doing important work and should be recognized/compensated as such.

Do you see how this exercise could be of value for your credit union? If you handed out index cards to all your members, what would be written?

When I’m teaching martial arts classes, I often ask a student what someone will do if they use a certain move. “I don’t know,” is a fair answer. How can you be sure of their reaction? Well, you do that technique, and see their response!

What will your members wish you knew? Well, you ask! We read articles daily about how to connect with Millenials (Gen Y). Like everyone else, they want a say. They want a deliberate effort to engage, not a new promotion or product. Connect and learn. What if it became an industry effort? Say, using social media under the hashtag #OurMembersWish. Now that’s @asmarterchoice I can support.

There’s a fantastic TED Talk describing one way to get into a mission, rather than product, centric, mode of thinking with a process called Golden Circle. You’ll recognize it in use with companies like Apple and Harley Davidson, in people like Elon Musk, as well as every non-profit you know.

The index cards? Yeah, they’re in that supply closet, just down the hall. Grab a bunch.

Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/garylerude/2815430150/

(N)Ever Admit You’re Wrong?

Originally published in November issue of American International Karate Institute’s monthly newsletter.

Here at the Credit Union Geek, I never make mistakes.

Yeah, right.

We live in a society which looks down upon those who make mistakes, as if it is something to be shamed. Why? Every great discovery was done after many attempts, all failing in some fashion. Medical treatments, sports achievements, technical breakthroughs, and any other “first” was done following, well, can you guess? A mistake, that’s what. And probably many of them. Let’s talk Thomas Edison. He’s the guy who discovered a workable method of producing electric light.  In other words: flip a light switch and thank Edison. That brilliant fellow came up with the right idea one day and, bam, light! Well, that’s only partially true. He came up with 3,000 ideas. Two of them proved noteworthy, meaning, he was wrong 2,998 times.

When was the last time you got something wrong 2,998 times? Did you keep trying? Famously, Edison claimed, “You only fail when you quit.”

If being wrong is so shameful, would you risk it? What would people say?

Over the years, great films have highlighted the journey from amateur to champion. Call it the Rocky montage. Or the Karate Kid segment (the 80s excelled at this piece of film history). In the movie, we spend 5 minutes documenting the grueling training and challenges our protagonist encounters. Then, just as they collapse in exhaustion, we see a spark of understanding. Their kick lands. Their punches flow. The light bulb works. Now, it’s off to defeat the Huns!

As a cinematic element, they’re awesome. Tell me your run doesn’t get a boost from hearing Rocky Balboa get ready for his fight against Apollo. But they create an unrealistic perception of progress. It’s hard to grasp the sheer time and effort compressed into those scenes. Olympic athletes train for hours a day, every day, for decades, to even be in the running for competition. As a long-term martial artist, I can say that Daniel-san did not stand a chance at the tournament. He didn’t fail enough to succeed.

It’s not only in competition or inventing where this applies. Apple released iOS 8 in September. It wasn’t perfect. So they released iOS 8.0.1 a few days later. It was even less perfect. The next day, they released 8.0.2. Much better. For some reason, with iOS 8, they also removed the beloved Camera Roll feature, replacing it with a Recently Added folder. It was a nightmare trying to explain how that worked to my parents…”Yes, those are still your phone’s pictures. No, just because they disappeared doesn’t mean they are deleted or gone. It just doesn’t show them there anymore. Yes, you can find them in the big list on the Photos tab.” So, with iOS 8.1, they admitted their mistake and restored Camera Roll. Thank you!

Acknowledging your imperfections and addressing them is a great way to move forward. Never being wrong means you 1) don’t take risks of any kind and 2) won’t achieve anything of significance. My favorite TED talk (On Being Wrong, Kathryn Schulz) delves into this very issue. How sure are you of being right? What about once you’re shown you are wrong? That’s the craziness of being wrong. When we are wrong, we think we are right until shown otherwise. Go watch the TED talk.

In your personal and professional life, aim for getting it wrong. Then accept it, address the issues, and try to get it wrong again. You may just invent the phonograph or telephone, discover penicillin, or grow your member engagement!

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