Credit Union Geek

Marketing, Strategy, and The Force by Joe Winn

Tag: training (page 1 of 2)

Achievement is a Moving Benchmark

Originally published as feature article in February 2015 issue of student newsletter at my dojo, University Karate Center. Then published on CUInsight.com

Training in martial arts isn’t easy. Same with any other sport or activity. Beginners think, “wow, everyone is so far ahead of me…how could I ever do that?”

As a reader of this blog, you gain valuable insight into my secret life…a martial arts student and instructor. I’ve trained for, let’s just say, a while.

Progress in Life & Training

During my time at the karate school, many students have come through the dojo. Some still train today. Others moved on to different phases (and places) in their life. Most thrilling is welcoming past students back after extended absences due to school, work, or family.

In all of these scenarios, there is a continual challenge of improvement. What do I mean? Well, when you’re doing a thing for a while, you are immersed in it. You gain skills at a nice rate. It feels good.

But then you stop for a long period. “No problem,” you think. “I’ll just get back in the swing of things; I know this stuff!” Except, we all know it’s harder than that.

What you remember as simple isn’t quite so anymore. But you’re committed! You train hard and help regain your previous skills, perhaps even with a deeper understanding. Good for you!

Sure, these are the seeds of a longer discussion, but today I want to focus on what I call the moving benchmark.

As You Improve, So Do Others

The benchmark challenge emerges for individuals both new and long-term.

One recent karateka, as students of martial arts are referred, asked a great question a few months into their training:

“Sensei, how can I become as skilled as the high ranking instructors here? Every time I gain a new insight, they show me another way in which I’m just a beginner.”

Sound familiar? Hint: This isn’t solely about karate.

As you get better, at anything, and you are (really!), those with more experience are as well. You are working towards a moving benchmark. While you train and learn, your teachers get better, too.

Avid readers know what happens now. It’s time to relate to credit unions!

Improvements & Your Credit Union

Paper Notebook with Graph and ChartThat’s a mighty fine marketing strategy you’ve got there. As is your website; the team should be proud. And your member referral program is stellar!

Of course, yours is not the only credit union working on making each area better. Another looks to the same improvements, yet has an additional 25 years upon which to build.

As we tell our students at our dojo:

“It’s not about how long it took to finally start training. You started. And you’re here now. That’s what matters.”

Emulate the Experts

Even Olympic champions look up to someone. It’s how we all work together to improve.

Don’t be discouraged if the expert looks like an expert. That’s literally the point!

Continuous Growth

Embrace our karate school ideals of continuous growth and replicate what works.

We also encourage learning from those both junior and senior to you. Just because they’re a white belt doesn’t mean a Black Belt can’t learn from them!

Finance Flowchart with Laptop on DeskFor you, that means looking to your competition, whether that’s a fellow credit union or regional/national banks. Then remember you’re not competing with credit unions! You can all learn together!

In the martial arts, we use the opponent’s strength to our own advantage.

While sweeping your competition onto the mat may be an untenable act, observe their “movements” (actions, strategies, etc.) and discuss internally how a similar approach might work within your own institution.

The road to Black Belt is a long and challenging one. Also, it never ends. Who says it’s any different for credit union success?

“I am Groot. I am Groot…I AM GROOT!”

Originally published on CUInsight.com

By now, every tree, raccoon, and 80s-mixtape loving space traveler has seen the newest Guardians of the Galaxy. And, if by some chance, you missed that ship as it soared past, explosions trailing in its wake, then I’ll lay off the spoilers. They’re fun movies. Go watch.

One character became everyone’s favorite: Groot. But that might be our human weakness for puppy trees. Or baby stalks? Saplings? Yeah, that’s it.

So Groot is interesting. What does he say? And what else? That’s all? Yes, here is a character which has now gotten through three films (and years of comic books) with a three word vocabulary: “I. Am. Groot.” But you can always tell what he means.

There’s a science to his communication. You might have heard of a study which showed 93% of communication is non-verbal. Wax washing Dumbledore patio furniture sounds pen computer! Yeah, that’s ridiculous. Dumbledore would never use a computer. So words still matter. Like most science, it was more complex than reported, unless, apparently, you’re Groot. It’s possible they excluded talking trees from their research.

Here’s the reality: What you say is important. But how you say it means the difference between ending the conversation right there or continuing onward.

It’s the difference between someone who cares about talking and one who can’t wait to get away. You see it at networking events, in stores, and on some phone customer service lines. The person who is expressing with animation garners more interest. Seems pretty obvious. If you don’t care about what you’re saying, why should I? Likewise, if you cannot contain your excitement about a new CU initiative, the smile becomes contagious.

Staff who express themselves in this manner create excited members. Excited members are engaged members. Staff who feel obligated to mention products or services do so…in…a…monotonous…and…disinterested…style. The member thinks, “if they don’t care about it, why should I?”

Don’t be teenage angst Groot. Be saving the galaxy for the second (third?) time GROOT!

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

« Older posts

© 2019 Credit Union Geek

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑