Credit Union Geek

Marketing, Strategy, and The Force by Joe Winn

Tag: tasks

5 Things I Learned After Buying A House

Originally published on

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.


Progress with Tedium

Too often, we see plans made, strategies devised, and duties assigned, yet nothing ensues. This isn’t specific to the credit union industry. In fact, you can find such breakdown of motivations in all areas of work and life. “I’ll clean out the garage this weekend.” Did you? “Our entire team is following a year-long plan to improve sales.” How does that look by month 7?

Expedition 41 (Soyuz 40) recently arrived at the International Space Station. Carrying 3 space-faring pioneers (well, technically, two Russian cosmonauts and one NASA astronaut), the rocket launched from the Baikanur Cosmodrome in Kazakstan early in the morning local time, and docked with the station after about 20 hours of low-Earth orbit travel.

Never mind how crazy-cool it is that we regularly send people into space, where they meet up with others who have been living up there for months. Let’s ignore the awesomeness of that for a moment. Really, it is amazing…I mean, think about it…space…as in, not Earth. And they live up there!

Talk about distractions. Ok, back on topic. Space. Orbit.

Imagine the planning that goes towards flying into space and parking on a target moving at thousands of miles per hour. Now triple what you’ve pictured. Probably more. Yet, tasks are accomplished on time while ensuring maximum safety for all occupants.

Bet your annual strategic plan pales in comparison.

How do they meet specific task markers within time constraints (and while not flying themselves into the ocean)? They progress with tedium.

I’m embarrassed to admit it, but since we’re all friends here; I had never watched a live launch or docking of a Soyuz mission to the ISS. Sure, I’ve seen the Space Shuttle in person and watched launches of those workhorses. Yet for Soyuz rockets, only the replays and highlights of many, the triumphant hand-shakes over a shiny blue ball, floating in a manner to make us all so, so jealous, and interviews with family and friends on the ground.

Live is a different animal. Feeling like The Doctor without his TARDIS, you experience the passage of time in real-time. Unlike all the great sci-fi stories, orbital operations happen over a matter of hours, not seconds. Prior to launch, task after essential check was reviewed, continuing until about T-2 seconds, at which point, viewers stopped hearing those discussions. Then, once they were in orbit, thus began the tedious job of ensuring a safe opening of the Soyuz into the ISS. Can’t have a leaky seal pouring valuable air into the near-vacuum of low-Earth orbit!

I stayed awake until task 17.8…and there was still another hour of checks before the hatches were opened. Do you have the patience to progress in such tedium?

If you have a strategy that cannot falter, treat it like a space mission. Sure, it may lack the “sexy” rapid flow as you’re moving through, but it happens. When you expect. With the results you demand.

Because, just like slipping past a planet into outer space, missing your loan goals again is not an option.

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