CUES SKYBOX BLOG

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The Real ROI of Mobile Banking

CUs will have significantly more success if they actively engage with potential mobile users. By John Moon Sponsored by Fiserv Mobile banking is valued as a way to better serve and engage members, yet credit unions may not realize the potential for solid mobile ROI for institutions that focus on driving adoption and usage. To quantify the tangible returns generated by mobile banking users, Fiserv, in conjunction with Raddon Financial Group, conducted a year-long study and evaluated data from more than 67,000 mobile banking users at eight credit unions and nine banks. Researchers looked specifically at the actions of mobile banking users three months before and three months after they started using the service. The study found specific returns on the mobile investment in the following areas: Increased product holdings. The average number of product holdings, including loans, certificates of deposit, credit cards and mortgages, increased after consumers’ adoption of mobile banking. Increased transaction frequency. In the three months after adoption of mobile banking, consumers in the study significantly increased both the number and value of their debit and credit card, ATM and ACH transactions. This is significant because many transactions generate revenue, such as interchange revenue from card transactions. […]

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A Vote on Top Culture-Strengthening Agents

CUES Symposium attendees report their biggest needs, using CUES’ electronic balloting platform. By Laura Lynch Last week at CUES Symposium: A CEO/Chairman Exchange, participants voted for the top factors they would use at their credit unions to strengthen culture. They did so using the CUES eVote: Elect and Educate platform. Here are the two questions posed by the event’s opening session speakers–Maddie Grant, CAE, and Jamie Notter, co-founders of Culture That Works, LLC–and the distribution of attendees’ votes for each. To strengthen your culture, which capacity do you think will need the most attention inside your organization? The top answer was creating flexible, fluid hierarchies (38 percent), followed by having digital delivery focus on the user (26 percent); then the speed of developing trust (27 percent); and, finally, transparency and information sharing (13 percent). What is the most important change to push for at the executive/board level, in order to strengthen culture? The top single answer here was greater strategic clarity (27 percent); followed by allowing for greater authority lower in the hierarchy (26 percent); then more internal collaboration (12 percent); and more open dialog (7 percent). “All of the above” was chosen by 28 percent of respondents. How would […]

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Prepaid Debit Cards Aid Responsible Refund Spending

CUs can help members manage the cash they get after filing their taxes. By Bart Scott Sponsored by LSC It may seem hard to believe as it’s only February, but tax season is right around the corner. W-2s are appearing inside members’ mailboxes. It can be a stressful time, digging out paperwork, organizing receipts, adding up totals, wondering if a particular expense counts as a write-off. Credit unions can help their members cope with tax time tension, and prepaid debit cards can be a useful tool in this. Start by reminding your members how you can help manage that tax refund that may be coming down the line. It’s always a good feeling when that “extra” money appears in the mail or in your member’s account. The hard part is resisting the urge to spend it on something fun, and maybe a little exorbitant. As credit unions, we look out for our members and keep their best interests at heart. It’s our responsibility to advise against blowing their refund all at once. Put some away for a rainy day, or use it for a necessary home repair or project that’s been put off. That would be the safe, smart choice. […]

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Consciously Creating Culture

Because culture has a profound effect on employee behavior and, ultimately, the organization, leaders need to know how to shape it. By Jim Bearden, CSP Just as the topic of leadership has morphed into lists of traits, principles, philosophies and concepts, organizational culture has received similarly superficial treatment. While most people in leadership positions are aware of culture as an organizational phenomenon, their limited understanding of two important points seriously limits their effectiveness at creating the cultures they desire. They don’t understand the true power of culture, the impact the culture has on individual and organizational performance. They don’t understand the specific things they can do (the process they can use), to consciously create cultures that reinforce and support behavior essential to organizational success. Culture is to organizations what attitude is to individuals. And who among us would quarrel with the notion that individuals’ attitudes are powerful? What evidence can we see of a person’s attitude? A person’s behavior provides evidence of his or her attitude. The internal (attitude) is manifest in the external (behavior). We can also say that a person’s attitude drives his or her behavior. Behavior is an inside-out dynamic; a person’s behavior in certain situations or […]

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7 Reasons Strategy Doesn’t Get Executed

Which apply at your credit union? By Michael Hudson, Ph.D. Over the past 30 years I’ve asked business leaders across an array of industries how well their current strategy is working, and heard a wide range of answers. Some changed the subject (aka, dodged the question, while essentially answering it with their lack of response). Others provided examples of how they are moving in the direction of achieving their long-term strategic goals. A few suggested (often a bit defensively) that a long-term strategy is irrelevant because things change too quickly and there is too much uncertainty. Many (including a few credit union CEOs) admitted that they’ve never even defined a long-term strategy because they’ve been too busy running the business. When I ask the same leaders how effectively they are executing their strategic plans, the answer is almost always “not as effectively as we would like.” Here are the seven reasons given by these CEOs for why this strategy-execution gap occurs. “We don’t really have a long-term strategy.” Often this reflects a belief that planning for the future isn’t possible when change comes quickly and there is much uncertainty. But it also reflects operationally focused planning processes that ignore (or […]

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‘Glanceable’ Wearables and Your CU

Even if your members don’t want smart watches yet, this technology isn’t one to ignore. By Danny Piangerelli It’s hard to imagine even easier, more instant access to the data we want, since we are all used to having our smartphones with us. At all times. But that is exactly what wearables are poised to do and, in many cases, are already accomplishing. Consider how fitness tracker bracelets like those made by Fitbit and Basis Peak are impacting the world of fitness, keeping us ultra-connected to our own data as well as to one another. The financial industry and credit unions in particular have an opportunity to adopt wearable technology as a way to expand popular mobile banking offerings. New apps are making it possible for members to view a glanceable version of payment and account information – right on their wrists. Credit unions should see this trend as a powerful way to enable their members to perform simple financial tasks, like monitoring account balances, using their smart watch. Some credit unions are already in this arena. For example, when the Apple Watch was introduced, $258 million Alabama Teachers Credit Union, Gadsden, Ala., and $553 million Greater TEXAS Federal Credit […]

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Closing Culture Gaps

Use this test to see if there’s a difference between “what sounds good” and “what gets done” in your shop. By Jim Bearden, CSP If I asked you to describe your credit union’s culture, what would you say? If you weren’t sure how to answer that question, where would you look for help in doing so? Many people would consult things like mission statements, core values and guiding principles. And the words and phrases found therein do provide insights on what I refer to as the “professed culture,” the one the authors would like to have. In my experience most mission statements and other such foundational documents have two things in common: They all sound good. They have little or no impact on employee behavior. So where would you look to see evidence of the actual culture? That culture—the only culture you have—is reflected in the behavior of people working in your organization. Here’s a suggestion. Pick a type of behavior found in your mission statement. Some popular examples are teamwork, collaboration and service. If you asked each of your employees to identify a specific situation for which that type of behavior is important and the specific things that employee […]

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Cracking the Code of Innovation

7 steps for success By Neil Thornberry Everyone says they want innovation in their organization, but when an ambitious employee offers a new idea to a CEO, for example, it is often shot down, says Neal Thornberry, Ph.D., faculty director for innovation initiatives at the Naval Postgraduate School in California. “Senior leaders often miss the value-creating potential of a new concept because they either don’t take the time to really listen and delve into it, or the innovating employee presents it in the wrong way,” says Thornberry, who recently published “Innovation Judo,” based on his years of experience teaching innovation at Babson College and advising an array of corporate clients, from the Ford Co. and IBM to Cisco Systems. “Innovation should be presented as opportunities, not ideas,” he says. “Opportunities have gravitas (substance), while ideas do not!” Thornberry outlines a template for innovation that works: Intention: “I once worked with an executive committee, and I got six different ideas for what ‘innovation’ meant,” Thornberry says. “One wanted new products, another focused on creative cost-cutting, and the president wanted a more innovative culture. The group needed to agree on their intent before anything else.” Infrastructure: This is where you designate who […]

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‘CORE’-dinating Technology Solutions

How can your CU get the right line-up of tools to empower employees and engage members? By Stan Cowan, CCE Sponsored by D+H For many years, credit unions have given first consideration to technology and made everything else secondary. But they can no longer afford to think this way, given the highly competitive landscape. Instead, balancing high-tech and high-touch experiences must be CUs’ top priority in today’s omni-channel environment. And it follows that staff members need to have great technology tools at their fingertips if they’re going to do a great job serving members. A credit union’s core system has always been its technology backbone. Credit unions rely on a variety of sources of information when deciding on the best set-up for both team member and consumer experiences. During their research, many credit unions try to figure out whether their best set-up is building out the core system with additional modules from the same vendor or integrating third-party solutions with the core. Some credit unions seek advice from consultants because they value the perspective they offer. Consultants typically see challenges from other institutions first hand and can offer ideas. Some CUs feel the consulting fee is worth it because it […]

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Boards: Examine Merger Ratios

Before they bless a consolidation, directors need to take a good look at the financials of the surviving credit union. By Charlene Komar Storey This is bonus from an upcoming story about merger finance for board members in the February 2016 issue of CUES’ Credit Union Management magazine. Credit union boards that will lead the surviving institution in a merger have to take a close look at the financials of potential partners to make sure the effects of a merger will be acceptable to the surviving institution, says Stephen Morrissette, Ph.D., adjunct professor of strategic management at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business and co-lead faculty for CUES’ new Mergers & Acquisitions Institute this June. While managers will have already been considering financials closely, boards still need to make sure the ratios the surviving credit union will operate with as a result of a merger are sufficiently solid. The surviving credit union must decide how much dilution it is willing to accept–and what action it will take if the dilution is greater than it anticipates. The credit union should keep a close eye on several key factors, and run downside scenarios. The scenarios should ask such questions as: […]

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Why So Many Mergers?

Retirements of CEOs and board members may be a factor. By Charlene Komar Storey This is bonus from an upcoming story about merger finance for board members in the February 2016 issue of CUES’ Credit Union Management magazine. While financial problems may move credit unions to merge into a larger partner, that’s not the only reason the movement is seeing so many new combinations. Other common merger motivations are technological advancement and consumer expectations, says Jim Kasch, founder of Canidae Consulting. Mergers also come about to help institutions more successfully compete in the marketplace and comply with regulations. Another important factor Kasch cites is that a large number of CEOs and board leaders are retiring. Rather than replacing those leaders, some credit unions look to merge. Among smaller credit unions, in particular, there’s a concern about being able to compete for top-quality people, Kasch says. It has become harder and harder to attract directors, as the national volunteer problem escalates. And being a credit union director is challenging. “Directors I talk to who are 30 to 45 years old say it’s harder” than other types of volunteer roles they could take on, Kasch points out, saying that the need for […]

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The Problem of Director Onboarding

Don’t stumble at the starting line; have a good process instead. By Michael G. Daigneault, CCD When nearly 50 percent of our clients tell us that they are less than effective at doing something that is central to their ultimate success, we sit up and take notice. Such is the case among our credit union clients about their new board member orientation programs. I wouldn’t call this a little problem with a lowercase “p,” but rather a big problem with a capital “P.” Ask yourselves this question: Would you place your own new board member orientation program in that same “Problem” category? If so, it’s time you sit up, take notice and get moving. Here’s why: Director onboarding is a hard job that’s getting harder every day. You know more than anyone else the challenges that you face as a credit union board member. The regulations are growing; balance sheets have become more complex; and the legal and fiduciary responsibilities that directors bear are significant. There is a lot at stake. You need new colleagues on your board who are “at the ready” from day one. The competition for good board members is growing. There is a constant need for […]

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How Are Data and Cameras Alike?

Today, people want both in their pockets. By Danny Piangerelli “The best camera you have is the one you have on you.” The oft-quoted statement among professional photographers now rings true for many of us amateurs. As cool as it is to have a high-end digital single-lens reflex camera capable of professional quality shots, it’s of no use to you when it’s at home. When the moment strikes and a camera is needed, the one you have on your smartphone is, in fact, “the best,” since it’s the one that gets the shot. Increasing evidence suggests a similar pattern for data. The best device to view and make use of your data is more and more often the one that’s with you. In the financial services space, consumers have come to expect 24/7 access to their financial data. In the past, they accessed that data while sitting at a desk, using a desktop PC or through a web browser. Today they are very likely to access their data using their phones. And the reality of the best data being the data that’s “on you” is even more striking when you consider consumers who access it using wearables, such as smart […]

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Board Room Body Language

Watch for these signals to take action. By Stacy McConnell Everyone—including your board members—has ways of expressing themselves without saying a word. Even without realizing it, people naturally reveal concealed thoughts or emotions with gestures, facial expressions, tone and inflection of voice, posture, and eye movement and contact. In other words, all of us unintentionally demonstrate what we are thinking and feeling through our body language. Knowing this, it stands to reason that credit union leaders could potentially salvage tough situations in the board room by reading other leaders’ body language and appropriately responding to it. Before I suggest things to look for among those in attendance at your next board meeting, it’s important to note that interpreting body language is not mind reading. It is simply an observation of another person’s behavior, and it may not always be what it seems. Here are a couple of warning signs to watch for. Pay attention if someone suddenly points their feet or belly button away from the board discussion, especially if it’s toward the exit. People naturally point their belly buttons and feet toward the direction of what pleases them – whether it’s things or other people. So turning away from […]

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Taking Stock in Learning

New CUES membership benefit helps human resources pros evaluate and guide staff learning. By Lisa Hochgraf My son had a good time recently looking through my high school report cards. Like he does now, I got pretty good marks in my classes back then. Well, with the exception of gym. (See photo evidence.) Indeed, compile anyone’s report cards and you have an interesting picture of their learning–what courses they took and which they excelled in. Looking back on my report cards certainly helped me take stock in what I did way back when. These kinds of learning records are ripe for use by high school guidance counselors when helping recommend next courses of learning—or colleges—to their students. Course records from many different students, once compiled, can also help educators plan which courses to offer next. Similarly, CUES Learning Tracker can be a useful tool to credit union human resources leaders. A cutting edge benefit of CUES membership, this system records attendance at CUES learning events, plus online learning, including articles read and videos watched. The data compiled in CUES Learning Tracker can not only help a particular employee take stock in what learning he or she has done, but also […]

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The Competitive Payments Game

Be sure to have a good offense and defense–and  keep up with the changing rules. By Chris Joy Mediums of exchange have been in existence for thousands of years. Today’s payments game features an interesting blend of time-tested products and delivery systems coexisting with technological innovations. It may seem impossible to keep up, but staying on the sidelines is not a viable option. The challenge for whoever is in charge of payments at your credit union is this: You have to manage your business line, first and foremost, but you also have to keep tabs on evolving technology and changes in the marketplace. Consider: What are the performance measures and levers in your business and how can you marry them with technology advancements? On the marketplace front, small payment providers and payment threats are lurking at every turn. Since the market is still relatively fractured and immature, each credit union needs to research, study and discuss where it fits into the landscape. At this point, it’s hard to know which options will take root. Some good questions to ask include: Where do we see potential investments in payment technology benefiting our members? What technologies seem to be getting a foothold […]

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Prepaid Cards Mitigate Millennial Angst

The best ones offer young people spending power, security and a linked mobile app. By Bart Scott Sponsored by LSC Daily life is a balancing act for younger members trying to launch a career and maintain some semblance of a social life. Simplifying the infinite details helps. That includes finances and keeping track of spending. Credit unions can offer the solution. The Tool for Trailblazers Millennials are doing it their own way – creating paths where there weren’t any. That requires focus, and not worrying about little distractions. Imagine your member’s day consists of getting up early to make a coffee stop before one meeting, ordering an Uber to get to the next one, and somehow figuring out lunch on the run. Keeping track of cash and debit cards is a concern they could do without. A prepaid debit card is a perfect solution for younger members to keep finances and daily spending simple and organized. It only takes a couple minutes to load whatever amount your members need to get through the day, week, etc. That’s it. They can lighten their wallet by carrying one simple card. No Stigma – Just a Smarter Choice Yes, there has been some […]

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Trick Question: Who’s the Leader of Your CU?

The board? The CEO? It’s actually both, together. By Lisa Hochgraf Imagine that tennis greats Serena and Venus Williams are teaming up to play doubles. Who is the leader of that team? Serena? Venus? They’re both awesome individual players, but when they are both on the same side of the net, who is the leader? Neither one, said Michael Daigneault, CCD, during the Directors Conference pre-conference workshop yesterday in Orlando. To win, the sisters just have to play well together. Daigneault, founder and principal of CUES strategic provider Quantum Governance L3C, Vienna, Va., and co-leader of yesterday’s session, said boards and their CEOs must similarly “play well together” as the co-leaders of their credit union. “Is the board a leader of the credit union? Absolutely. Is the CEO a leader of the credit union? Absolutely,” he explained. The key question is: “How can we work more effectively together to meet whatever challenges are confronting us?” During his part of the pre-conference session, Steve Williams, CIE, gave a specific example of how board-CEO teams co-lead. Principal of CUES Supplier member and strategic provider Cornerstone Advisors, Scottsdale, Ariz., Williams said that directors and CEOs must work together to successfully manage the credit […]

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2016 Auto Lending Depends on Rates

Predicting one more great year before car loans taper off in 2017. By John Caddell and Carol Cline-Parton This is bonus coverage from “Lending Outlook 2016” from the January 2016 issue of Credit Union Management magazine. A rising tide lifts all ships and the improving economy has certainly lifted the U.S. auto industry out of the lows of the Great Recession. As reported by Reuters on Aug. 4, 2015, the National Automobile Dealer Association projects 2015 auto sales to reach 17.17 million vehicles, a 4.4 percent increase from 2014. Steven Szakaly, an NADA economist cited in the story, predicts that U.S. sales will peak at a record high in 2016 of 17.46 million vehicles and then slide back to 16.65 million vehicles in 2017. Healthy auto sales translate into good times for those in the lending business, according to CU Direct. During an Oct. 8, 2015, webcast for its lending partners–“State of the Credit Union Auto Lending Market”–CU Direct underscored that auto loans have hit the $1 trillion mark in outstanding balances for the first time in the U.S. history. CU Direct also reported that credit unions captured 25 percent of all U.S. auto loan originations in second quarter 2015 […]

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Log in and Learn

CUES Learning Tracker responds to key trends in professional development. By Christopher Stevenson, CIE I see it on my own team: People learn in different ways. One of my staffers likes learning from videos and podcasts at her desktop because travel is tricky with a small child. Another was jump-up-and-down excited about taking a massive open online course on Coursera because it was offered by a university she respects. Another stays super current and informed about the CU industry by reading online articles regularly. The variety of preferences my team demonstrates is consistent with trends I’m seeing in the learning design arena. For example, I see discussion about more “vertical development” taking place. That is, more people at all levels of an organization—not just C-suite executives—are striving to learn, improve and lead. In addition, ownership of learning is being transferred from the employer to individual employees. Not surprisingly, research is finding that people’s motivation to grow is highest when they feel a sense of autonomy over their own development, especially as they face business challenges they need to overcome to do their jobs and progress in their careers. All this seems positive, yet keeping tabs on everyone doing learning in […]

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Life-Changing Work

You can benefit from this consultant’s return to doing what he was born to do. By Mary Auestad Arnold CUES’ 2014 CEO/Executive Team Network changed Michael Hudson’s life. While attending a session with Do More Great Work author Michael Bungay Stanier, Hudson realized he wasn’t doing much great work at all. In fact, Hudson, who holds a Ph.D. and heads his own company, writes that he was only spending 10 percent of his time on “truly great work, defined by Stanier as ‘life altering strategic work’—the work you were born to do that creates a real impact on the world.” Less than a year later, Hudson has “redefined my approach to allow me to do the work I do best and enjoy most—the ‘great work’ that had been pushed out by the ‘bad work’ taken on in trying to grow the business,” he writes in “How the Great Work Pie Chart Changed my Life.” One piece of Hudson’s great work is coaching leaders to be better presenters and communicators. To that end, he wrote the downloadable ebook Michael Hudson’s 52 Speaking Tips. Here are a few tips to get you started, whether you’re on stage or presenting at a meeting: […]

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Apples-to-Apples Innovation

Deciding what projects (and innovations) to work on requires knowing what types of initiatives you’ve got–and how to evaluate them. By Ben Allbee How can your credit union decide which projects to fund? As my experience at Strategic Innovation Institute I at MIT this August made clear, it’s not easy to make the call about what to do–and what not to do–with your resources. During the institute, my classmates and I learned a four-step “aggregate project planning” process designed to aid success with managing an organization’s portfolio of projects. Importantly, the process started with identifying projects that were similar. The idea is to have projects compete for funding only against other projects of the same type. This session really drove home the idea that no single metric can be used, in all cases, to compare (and decide about) projects on an apples-to-apples basis. Using net present value or return on investment may work well for comparing derivative projects that add or augment existing offerings. But NPV and ROI are considerably less useful when you attempt to compare breakthrough initiatives. Instead, you may need to look at member value perception, or long-term capabilities and future design options that may be enabled […]

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ATMs: Still Critical

Members still love cash and convenience, so it’s up to CUs to find the best way to keep these machines in their delivery channel mix. By Joe Woods Sponsored by CU24 I’m a credit union member. My direct deposit paycheck hits twice a month. When I need cash, I go to the ATM. For me, the ATM is a necessity. The ATM is how I get to my money, and I couldn’t belong to the credit union without ATM access. As far as I’m concerned, no ATM, no credit union. Credit unions know they must provide convenient and cost–effective member service. As a result, ATMs are a critical component of their delivery systems strategies. ATMs can perform basic transaction functions more cost effectively than full-time employees, obviate additional brick-and-mortar branches, and provide 24/7 critical service in a convenient way. Often members don’t even have to get out of their cars for service. Despite decades of predictions to the contrary, people still use cash, and people love their ATMs. But credit unions don’t just wheel these big machines up to the wall and plug them in. The costs and steps required to install and maintain an operational ATM are considerable: selecting, […]

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When Should You Change Tradition?

Innovate when the old way no longer adds value. By Jamie Notter Originally published Oct. 15, 2015, on Jamie Notter’s blog. Reprinted with permission. I spoke this week to a group of leaders from organizations that value “tradition” quite highly. I, of course, was talking about some of the big changes in society (social media, the Millennials, decline of traditional management, etc.) that will be challenging many traditions. These leaders are by no means blind to these changes, but they were unsure about when they should challenge some of the traditions in their organizations and when they should rely on those traditions as a strength, since they are deeply rooted. So here’s a rule of thumb for you: Traditions must provide value–and beyond simple nostalgia. If your traditions exist simply because they remind people of the past in a way that makes them happy–but really provide no other value–then they are ripe for change. That doesn’t mean that you have to change them. Thinking about the past and being happy is not evil. But in this day and age, the bar has been raised for organizations when it comes to value creation, so we have less wiggle room than we had […]

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Strategic Innovation Institute’s ‘Red Lens’ Gets Magnified

Second segment builds on the first. By Kristopher S. Kovacs, CIE My experience at Strategic Innovation Institute II at Stanford University in September built on last year’s experience of attending Strategic Innovation Institute I at MIT in more ways than one. For example, one of the lessons I took away from the MIT experience was to consider more carefully how decisions as strategic leaders are viewed through a series of lenses, including the “red lens of emotion.” In other words, as we lead change in our organizations, some people will feel uncomfortable or even threatened by what we advocate. At Stanford, we dug into the physiology of human emotions and how the brain’s natural reaction to stimuli (or change) can have dramatically different effects on different people. This information was not only extremely insightful, but seemed like the natural extension of the MIT course work. At Stanford, we discussed the value of engaging our teams in positive exercises like pre-mortems, which involve imagining that a project has succeeded or failed, and then working backward to determine what potentially could lead to the failure. These efforts can help uncover hidden information and emotions and allow leaders to consider all input–both factual […]

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