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If You Don’t Speak Up, Someone Else Might Not Too!

Has this ever happened to you?

I was using my web browser and noticed it behave in a way that seemed odd. Sure, I could have thought, “you silly computer” and continued on with my day. But I’m a geek, remember? So, I reported it directly to Apple. Turns out, the behavior was an unreported security issue. Do you use a Mac? Take a look at your recent Safari update details. Who do you see credited in that second bullet point?

Fast forward to the day that update was released. Many sites presented the changes, both visible and under the hood. While I was getting the computer back up-and-running, I noticed a change to the way it reported RAM being used. Oh, that’s not something you’d typically check? 😉 Once again, I could have said, “I’m sure someone else will pick up on it.” Instead, I wrote to the leading Apple reporting site online with a screenshot of the change. Not an hour later, they updated their article, visible to millions of visitors, with my comments and screenshot.

A difference was made.

Even though we’re all geeks in something, I’m not suggesting bug-hunting as a new staff strategy. But what about a staff member who notices a typo in a new marketing piece? Or a member stuck in a service loop? Do they feel empowered to speak out? How about places where it’s more subtle? Imagine your phone system. It has a recording for members, and may change depending on promotions or season. Say a staff member hears an old loan offer being discussed on the recording: “Not my department. Obviously, someone else already knows about it. I don’t want to be a bother.”

No matter your position, you are valuable. From the member who points out a slow drip in the branch bathroom to an MSR who informs management about a bug in the system, that voice made a difference. It might be substantial, saving your credit union large amounts of time and money. Or, the comment may spawn a small improvement, making the member experience just that little bit better.

Speaking out is scary. Why? We put ourselves out there. And we might be wrong. That’s ok. Create a culture of inclusiveness amongst your friends, family, and workplace. Whether above or below you on the “corporate ladder”, value that input! It won’t all be amazing, but sometimes, a bug will be found, a security vulnerability will be discovered, and a better member experience will be identified!

Image credit: http://stuffpoint.com/the-simpsons/image/92012-the-simpsons-speak-up.gif

Thinking Community (and Pi)

What a whirlwind adventure! This week was my first CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference. For those who attended either this year or have in the past, you know what is involved. To anyone in the industry who has not…2016 will be here before you know it. So register now.

Seriously. If you’re a vendor, here’s an opportunity to meet more influential representatives of credit unions than you could ever reach otherwise. For staff of CUs, this is how you grasp what it truly means to work for a co-op. Mingle with others who quickly become friends and share how to make your institution ever-better. Management: Find your companions in credit unions large and small. Exchange a knowing conversation on how each strives to improve their respective communities.

And did I mention you are in DC? Yep. That’s the G of the conference. Like any respectable interest, you must lobby your representatives to fight for your cause. Unfortunately, this is Congress, not the United Federation of Planets. Money and power are king here, and for a group consisting of not-for-profits, the former is a challenge. So, show your collective influence. Make them understand how you fight for your members, not a group of shareholders.

At the beginning of the conference, I met a gentleman who was a Board Member Emeritus of his credit union. His term? Over 50 years, with no financial compensation. He does it for the love of the cause. He sees the good that comes of the credit union, adds what he can to keep it growing. With a genuine desire to help others and a heart of gold (he won a drawing and offered me half the winnings…would you do that?), it’s people like him that represent what makes credit unions different.

There is so much more to say, and other learning experiences to share, so keep an eye out for future posts about the conference. If you want analysis of issues or lobbying results, read elsewhere. I’ll be looking to the human interests, the tales that collectively tell the story of Credit Unions.

Also, tomorrow is Pi Day, when geeks everywhere celebrate a fundamental value of our universe. Like circles? You like Pi. Everyone loves Pi! However, this isn’t just another 3/14. This Pi Day comes once a century. Pi begins 3.1415926. So, on 3/14/15 at 9:26 PM, we’re having a party. One that won’t be repeated for another hundred years.

The only issue? Sweet or savory?

(That’s a dumb question. The answer is obviously “both!”)

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