The Six Guiding Forces of Credit Union Growth and Success: Part 1



Last month I began a series of articles on leadership systems based on the many leadership discussions I have had with credit union CEOs around America. I referred to the first system as The 8 Pillars of Strategic Alignment, and we examined each of the 8 Pillars in some detail.

I started with strategic alignment because aligning a credit union around a particular direction is so important, especially as the financial services industry becomes more dynamic and competitive. It’s too hard to be everything to everyone, and The 8 Pillars provides a framework for you and your team to set priorities.

As a follow up, this month begins a two part series on what I call The 6 Guiding Forces of Credit Union Growth and Success. You’ll see that strategic alignment is one of those guiding forces, but it cannot stand alone. We’ll look at Guiding Forces 1-3 this month, and 4-6 next time. You’ll notice a review of The 8 Pillars, but also see them in the context of a broader leadership system.

The 6 Guiding Forces of Credit Union Growth and Success are:

  1. Strategic Alignment Framework Based on Corporate Identity
  1. Velocity based on Aligning Leadership, Employees, and Systems
  1. Communication, the Glue of Strategic Alignment
  1. Selecting Well-Rounded Leaders Builds the Present and the Future
  1. Leadership Development Fuels Strategic Momentum
  1. Low Operating Expenses Enable Investment and Innovation

These guiding forces are universally applicable to any credit union, and the absence of any of them can prevent an organization from becoming all it can be.

You may find that you are in sync with these forces, or lacking in some of them. Don’t be discouraged if you find some gaps. Simply identify one or two gaps and develop a plan to tackle them. Over time you will find your credit union transforming as the gaps are filled.

Let’s begin our tour through The 6 Guiding Forces.

Guiding Force 1: Building Focus Through Strategic Alignment

The first Guiding Force involves creating tight strategic alignment around a very focused strategy. The diagram below reviews The 8 Pillars of Strategic Alignment.

As I wrote in my last article on leadership systems, alignment starts with knowing who you are, and who you are not. You cannot be all things to all people, and all the other 7 strategic pillars flow from your identity. Great leaders build their strategies based on their identity, and member needs and experience are assessed and developed within that strategic context.

If you consider these 8 Pillars as a process that cycles continually, it is not difficult to imagine significant velocity and momentum building and increasing as your credit union grows in its knowledge of members and how to serve them while holding fast to your identity and focused strategy.

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