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Strong Board/CEO Relationships – Keys to Credit Union Success

BY JOHN GREGOIRE

Without a great leader, your credit union is doomed to ungreatness. And a CU’s Board members are instrumental  layers in ensuring outstanding leadership. With a focus on CEO evaluation, this first in a three-part series reveals  proven methods that will help you and your Board build a stellar leadership team.

What is the difference between credit unions that succeed tremendously and those that merely exist? The answer in  all cases is leadership. Think of credit unions that have weathered financial storms, change of sponsor, employment  disruptions.
Once you have that list, you will find one common denominator: a strong CEO and an informed, engaged Board of  Directors.
Hiring, and inspiring, a great CEO is job number one for any Board. Interestingly, there is an appalling lack of  training on this important subject for credit union Board members.
This article is the first of a three-part series dedicated to strengthening credit unions through proven methods of  building great leadership teams. We believe that a Board’s ability to recruit, retain and inspire great CEOs is the most  important contribution it can make to its credit union. The series will focus on three key issues: CEO  evaluation, CEO compensation and CEO succession plan/recruiting.

The CEO Evaluation
In our experience, the CEO evaluation is a consistently weak part of the credit union Board/CEO relationship. CEOs  we have interviewed have told us candidly, but unfortunately often anonymously, that they lack a clear  understanding of their Board’s perspective of their performance. In some cases, there is a reasonable “scorecard”  with very quantifiable measures. In nearly all cases, however, the more subjective issues such as Board relations,  community impact and leadership are left largely to conjecture.
Experts in the field have concluded that “Organizational performance will, over time, deteriorate without clear  communication between the Board and the CEO on these (see above) issues.”


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