Relevance: The CEOs Main Responsibility



Drawing from the experience he gleaned at the recent Cornerstone Credit Union League’s annual convention, “Credit Union BUSINESS’s” CEO expert offers up advice on how to stay relevant in today’s financial environment. Before you roll your eyes about the relevancy talk … again … prepare for a fresh and honest take on the matter.

This past week I attended the Cornerstone Credit Union League’s annual convention in Oklahoma City. Since the League includes Texas, Oklahoma and my home state of Arkansas, I’ve been able to attend, exhibit and speak at a number of its events. Dick Ensweiler’s Cornerstone staff puts on first-class events.

Several speakers at this event stood out to me. One was Mark Meyer, CEO of Filene Research, and the other was Ken Schmidt, one of the engineers of Harley Davidson’s renowned turnaround in the late 1980s and 1990s. I saw Ken last year at the League of Southeast Credit Unions (LSCU) conference, and he was great there too.

Mark stood out to me because in discussing Filene’s report on Credit Unions in 2025, he brought up the “R” word: relevance. How many times have we heard that word in the last few years? We ask ourselves, “How will we remain relevant?”

Conversely, Ken stood out because he answered the question of how to remain relevant in one word: lifestyle.

In my column this month, I’m going to address the topic of relevance, but please don’t be offended if I seem impatient. On one hand I’ve had enough of this discussion of relevance. But on the other hand I realize patience and a gentle hand are needed. The Bible says, “A gentle answer turns away wrath,” so my purpose in this article, as in all the articles I write, is to encourage you with a gentle answer. However, I admit I am a bit frustrated with the relevance discussion.

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