3 Things We Know Will Help Leaders in Navigating Uncharted Waters
March 19, 2020
3 minute read – As we help credit union leaders navigate these uncharted waters, remembering simple things can make a big difference. Today we are outlining 3 things that we know will help leaders.
How you address these realities will depend on your credit union’s culture, level of concern for, and response to the current situation.
1. You can’t look most people in the eyes, so the nature and type of communication needs to change.
People are under stress – including your staff, members, board, and even Senior Leadership. Most are not used to working from home, are worried about their families, yet want to show up for the credit union. Needless to say, focus may not be at the highest.
Set up regular and frequent communication. One and done has always been a misnomer. You are under stress too. As a leader you need to appear open to any question, even if you think it is not relevant or way down in the weeds. These types of questions can help you understand what is important to staff, which can be important to the membership too.
Get creative in gathering information that you need to hear timely. Frequent on-line polling of staff with well-thought-out questions can help you keep your fingers on the pulse of what is going on and provide insight into your teams’ mindsets. Also, because you can’t see their faces, consider asking more specific questions such as:
- What worked well today for you?
- What was a speed bump or hurdle for you today?
- How can I help remove that speed bump?
- What are you noticing about member interaction?
When you make your decisions, the detailed implementation and effective communication of your decisions, including the whys of the details, are equally important to the decisions you make.
2. Your 3rd parties’ and competition’s preparedness have a direct impact on you.
Many of the 3rd parties you are relying on are also being tapped by other businesses. Their service levels may be under significant pressure.
Also, if your competition is not adequately prepared and consumers turn to you, your success with that customer may depend on how well you are prepared.
For example, if you have demand for mortgage refis and/or cash that you cannot support well, it can put your institution in a tough spot. Keep these things top of mind as you think about the decisions you need to make, including setting up a series of triggers.
3. Calm fears. Test and communicate possible financial impacts to key stakeholders.
We are helping decision-makers get their arms around possible financial outcomes. This has been helpful to calm fears and provide focus. Even if earnings initially drop materially, many credit unions have built up net worth to rely on during this combination of unprecedented events. As things begin to settle, and peoples’ minds have a chance to catch up with this reality, solutions can and will be found.
Social distancing and working remotely greatly increases the complexity of the situation. As decision-makers are planning, it is understandable that the default view for solutions is through the lens of business as usual. This habit is hard to break. But, the habit must be broken quickly. It is not business as usual.
Remember, you can make a difference with your mindset. Times of great uncertainty present opportunities for your institution to contribute in a meaningful way to the well-being of your members, employees, and community. Approach these issues with a determination to make a real difference.
Our other blogs may help you gain focus on immediate steps that can be taken to help move into action with more clarity:
Call us. We are here to help you think and explore options. We have experience working with over 600 financial institutions, including 25% of the credit unions over $100 million in assets and 50% of the credit unions over $1 billion in assets.
We can appreciate how recent events are impacting the normal course of business and are happy to schedule time outside of normal business hours – early in the morning, late at night, or on the weekend, as needed.
You can reach us at 800.238.7475 | 602.840.0606 or email email@example.com.