BY KENNETH C. BATOR
Employees who understand how they fit into your credit union’s grand scheme are more engaged employees, but how do you convey that understanding to them? Turns out the old organizational chart isn’t so old school after all. With a few modern twists, it can be just the tool to get the message across loud and clear.
A picture says a thousand words. I’m not sure who coined that phrase but he or she was on target. That’s probably why some of my past clients have emphasized visuals when presenting to their board members. “They just love charts and graphs,” or some reasonable facsimile thereof, is usually what I’m told.Well, it’s not just credit union volunteers who love visuals. Almost all of us do. This, of course, includes our employees.
Odds are that even the most engaged staff member isn’t going to read the 18-page summary of the strategic plan. Heck, you would be lucky if more than half of the team read the annual report. And, Mr. or Ms. Executive, do you really think any of the employees were actually tuned into your 30-minute “rah rah” speech for more than a minute or two during that team-building program you held on Columbus Day?
Many experts, including myself, state that every employee needs to understand how his or her work aligns with the achievement of the organization’s goals. But how do you communicate that message clearly when half the team is thinking about all the work they need to get done from yesterday and the other half is running a replay of the latest “Game of Thrones” episode in their heads? By using a very old tool in a new way. That tool being the organizational chart.
Let’s create an example from a completely fictitious credit union. We’ll call them Ubiquitous Community Federal Credit Union or UCFCU for short. The CU has one location in a city of 237,000 people. UCFCU serves all those who live, work, worship, or go to school in the entire county and employs 14 fabulous people. Here’s its org-chart.
The four-person executive team just got back from the strategic planning retreat held in Enlightened Springs. While there, the team members developed these primary goals for the credit union:
- To increase loans by 15 percent
- To increase product penetration from 2.2 to 2.8 per member
- To increase income by 25 percent
I always advocate getting the entire team involved in the strategic planning process, both before and after the retreat. So let’s assume the executive team obtained considerable staff input that led to the goals above. Upon return from said retreat,each VP met with his or her group of experts. Those meetings weren’t simply to arbitrarily report the credit union’s goals. Rather, they were to strategize on how each individual can contribute to the achievement of each objective.
Each team, of course, discusses how its focus can lead to exceeding each of the goals, but for example purposes, let’s look at the possible progression of one goal for each team. The business development team determines the following objectives will lead to at least 15 percent growth in loans.
Harry and Nicole figure, given payoffs and other factors related to their community, that as loan specialists, they need to produce a combined $500,000 in new loans per month in order to exceed a 15 percent increase for the year. The entire team discusses a few key aspects to the lending process that makes UCFCU the best choice for the majority of individuals in its target market. Elise decides that portions of the website can be enhanced to communicate a “Your Lender of Choice” theme that can be leveraged via social media and email marketing. Brenda realizes that there may be specific events in the community where she can represent UCFCU as the area’s “Lender of Choice.” So the individual goals and theorganizational chart might look like this:
Marketing Manager – to develop and implement “Your Lender of Choice” marketing communication by January 31 to include web pages, social media and email marketing
Business Development Specialist – to determine and attend a minimum of 12 events throughout the year that are optimum in promoting UCFCU as the Lender of Choice within the community
Loan Specialists – to average a minimumof $250,000 each in new loans per month
The operations team members determined that in order to properly increase product penetration, they would have to ascertain the cross-section of the top three most popular products among CU members that are also among the most profitable for the credit union. It doesn’t make much sense to increase the average to three products per member while not making the income goal. So Brittany offers to work with Finance to define the optimum three products. The MSRs agree to always promote those particular products during their member conversations,when appropriate.Therefore, the individual goals and the org-chart might look like this:
VP Operations – to work with the Finance Department to determine by January 31 the three optimum products to promote facetoface with CU members
MSRs – to include by February 14 the top three products as viable solutions in the CU’s member consultative process
Similar to operations, the finance team reasons that increasing income and product penetration go hand in hand. More specifically, gaining a new member and havinghim do nothing with UCFCU but deposit $25 in a share account is not conducive to achieving any of the business goals. Mike and Bruce surmise that employing an automated member onboarding system would help support business development. So the individual goals and the org-chart might look like this:
Accounting Manager – to research viable onboarding programs and suggest by January 31 three based upon price and value
VP Finance – to work with the VP Business Development to choose by April 30 one of the top three automated onboarding programs for implementation
Using the organizational chart as a tool and foundation to not only provide structure but also depict alignment allows for a visual adaptation. It’s one way to clearly illustrate how every single position directly contributes to the achievement of goals.
Now, of course, I realize that this example is rather basic in demonstrating the process of org-chart goal setting. The end product depicted above would have many more sub-objectives and probably several dotted lines. The example also doesn’t take into account other positions, especially for larger credit unions.
For instance, building upon the same example, the executive assistant might have a goal to compile a monthly dashboard report onthe progress of all goals. An IT manager might have an objective of integrating the onboarding system software by March 31. And an HR manager might have a goal to hire a loan documentation specialist by February 28 to allow the loan specialists to concentrate solely on direct member activities. However, in my experience, regardless of the size of the organization, using the org-chart as a visual goalsetting tool greatly increases the understanding of alignment and flow throughout the whole team.
Speaking of the whole team, in a perfect world, the entire group of employees would meet for this post-strategic-planning session process. I realize that may not be possible for all credit unions due to hours of operation and the practicality of getting everyone together for multiple hours. It would, however, help to breakdown silos within the organization. I encourage, at the very least, if teams do meet separately to determine goals, that a visual of the entire goal org-chart, with references to all sub-objectives, is made available and visible for the entire employee base. That is a picture of alignment that is worth more than a million words in any strategic planning binder.
Ken Bator is the author of “The Formula for Business Success = B+C+S” and the founder of Bator Training & Consulting, Inc. (BTC). Ken helps credit unions create environments where employees actually want to come to work and members want to keep coming back. BTC accomplishes this aim through a combination of Branding, Culture building, and Strategic planning. This is the unique B+C+S Formula created by Bator and featured in his latest book. To have BTC assist your credit union in creating a differentiating and engaging experience, contact Ken directly at 714-681-2821 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more about BTC’s training and strategic planning sessions at www.btcinc.net or www.speakermatch.com/profile/kenbator/.