CUES SKYBOX BLOG

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What Makes Merger Conversations Succeed?

Three ways to support good dialog about a possible combination. By Deedee Myers, Ph.D., MSC, PCC Merger conversations are not rocket science! Yet, there is an art to a having a successful conversation about a combination wherein all participants feel dignity and like they were heard, and the overall membership is considered. Here are three ways to make it more likely your merger conversation will effective: 1.  Put the membership first. A clear organizing principle, deeply embedded in the key decision-makers, is whether membership will benefit from the merger. When board members declare, in the first 10 minutes of conversation, their credit union name will be the surviving name and their CEO will be the surviving CEO, there’s a good chance the merger conversation has stopped. 2.  Gather leaders to have an exploratory conversation early on. Use a facilitator skilled in deliberate dialog to support such a conversation. A trained subject matter expert guides discussion, uncovers potential, and sees possibilities through objective listening. Mergers are only successful if participants strategically collaborate to build trust, dive into the conversations and authentically express their visions and concerns. 3. Understand the boards’ conditions of success up front. What does the board want? How […]

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Empowering Continuous Learning in a Digital Age

CUES Learning Tracker responds to modern learners’ need to record what they’ve learned informally. By Christopher J. Stevenson, CIE “As training moves to more digital formats, it’s colliding with new realities in learners’ jobs, behaviors, habits and preferences. Today’s employees are overwhelmed, distracted, and impatient. Flexibility in when and how they learn it is increasingly important. They want to learn from peers and managers as much as from experts. And they’re taking more control over their own development.” So begins the slide, “Meet the Modern Learner” from a webinar hosted by Bersin by Deloitte, which specializes in leading practices, trends and benchmarking research in talent management, learning and strategic human resources. The slide (numbered 3 in this deck) also notes that 66 percent of learning and development professionals have trouble engaging these modern learners with corporate learning. A later slide shows that only 14 percent of informal learning—the kind learners want most—is consistently tracked, compared with 97 percent of instructor-led training, 72 percent of self-directed e-learning and 57 percent of instructor-led webinars. Not surprisingly, Bersin by Deloitte also found that 50 percent of learning and development professionals report difficulty capturing data from informal learning activities. CUES was invited to co-present […]

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What Does That Behavior Really Mean?

CEO Institute III attendees learn the danger in making assumptions about the behaviors of others. By Lisa Hochgraf Once when Kristin Befhar was teaching a class at the University of Virginia’s Darden Graduate School of Business, a student’s behavior caught her attention. He was walking in and out of class, taking calls on his phone. Befhar, professor of business administration at the university, related this story during CUES’ CEO Institute III in August. Based on her past experience with students who had exhibited this kind of behavior, Befhar figured this student didn’t really take her class very seriously. But when she took him aside later and asked him what was up, she learned that he was the sole provider for his family; an IT manger with a boss who didn’t believe in executive MBAs because he thought they just give people opportunity to move to another job; and was launching a new technology system that very evening. “He was more committed to my class than I was,” Befhar said. Befhar used this example to illustrate her definition of perception: the process of integrating and interpreting information about others’ behavior so as to accurately understand them. She explained that perception comprises […]

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High Touch, High Trust

Investing in member relations boosts loyalty. Sometimes in today’s high-tech world, it still takes an old-fashioned approach to get the job done. When the economy took a downturn in 2008, CUES recognized the opportunity to increase its support to members as they navigated the new and exceptionally challenging business environment. A regionally structured member relations team was put in place to listen to members, uncover their needs and do something about them. “We get a lot of satisfaction in finding out what keeps our members up at night and then offering solutions that ease their worries,” says Dawn Poker, CUDE, CUES’ SVP/chief sales and member relations officer. The new Mergers & Acquisitions Institute (next slated for June 26-29 in Chicago) is one example. Member relations reps on the ground at conferences, league meetings and credit unions discerned a need for more in-depth knowledge of growth opportunities. Turning feedback into action led to this compelling new offering, developed in conjunction with the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Leiha Fiddler, CUES’ VP/sales and member relations-Canada, makes sure Canadian credit unions also reap the benefits of CUES’ personalized service. “My goal is for members to say, ‘CUES didn’t just ask me […]

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Three Questions Leaders Should Ask Themselves Twice a Year

Lessons for leaders from a gymnast on the pommel horse. By Lisa Hochgraf Alec Horniman told attendees of CUES’ CEO Institute III at the University of Virginia in August about watching a gymnast give a presentation while performing a routine on the pommel horse. A gymnast gets 94 points when he raises his hand to the judges, the gymnast said as he started his routine. According to Horiman, Killgallon Ohio Art professor of business administration and senior fellow with the Olsson Center for Applied Ethics at the University of Virginia, the gymnast stepped up his routine as he explained that gymnastics judges add two points to a gymnast’s score for good extension—reaching beyond what is easy. Horniman said the presenting gymnast again stepped up his routine as he talked about how the judges add two points for a pommel horse performance that includes some calculated risks—and did some unexpected pommel horse moves as he said two additional points for creativity could also be earned. Horniman said this story illustrates three questions leaders should ask themselves at least twice a year: How have I done on extending myself? “The value we create every year increases if we choose to extend,” Horniman […]

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Disrupting the Strategy Status Quo

Holistic planning must consider the changing market and consumer expectations. By John Oliver It’s easy to understand why some credit unions are resistant to change. Our history was built on an unassailable business model that made it difficult for anyone to take business away from us. And, if what you’ve done in the past has worked well, why not keep doing it? The answer is obvious: it’s impossible to maintain a status quo when everything around you is changing. The right questions to ask instead are, “How can my credit union remain relevant in the face of new pressures and demands, and, what is required?” The answers lie in a truly big-picture business strategy that factors in marketplace dynamics and consumer expectations. Holistic Approach. One roadblock I see frequently in my work with credit unions is the inability to think cross-functionally. As an industry, we do a good job of training people to think functionally. Lenders are taught to make loans, marketers are taught to promote and so on. As professionals advance to an executive level, they need to alter their thinking to prioritize the enterprise as a whole first. Marketplace Dynamics. The financial services marketplace is filled with disruptive […]

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Build a Member-Friendly Technology ‘Skyscraper’

Credit union leaders share perspective on the importance of a solid foundation. By Alissa Fry-Harris Sponsored by Bluepoint Solutions Before a skyscraper of high-tech, member-facing products and services can be built, a solid foundation of internal systems, technology and processes must exist. Credit unions are pushing for more omni-channel, self-service offerings for members, including adding more capture points and more mobile and online services. However, in preparation for more member-facing technology with the infrastructure needed for all of the pieces to work together properly, CUs also are renewing their efforts to clean up their back-office operations. Indeed, providing excellent member service and appealing to the tech-hungry millennial generation—and their equally savvy older counterparts—starts with getting back-office operations under control. A 2013 Capgemini report found that 60 percent of customer dissatisfaction actually emanates from inefficiencies in the back office. So automating as much of the back-office workflow as possible—and eliminating inefficiencies—will cut costs, support member-facing technology and create a competitive advantage to propel future growth. Document and content management operations account for significant efficiencies (or inefficiencies) in any organization, and should be a prime target for improvement to better meet member needs. Our findings show that updating legacy enterprise content management […]

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Want to Expand Your Leadership Ability?

Here are five big ideas and ways to put them in action. By Lisa Hochgraf Attendees of CUES’ CEO Institute III got the results of their 360-degree feedback survey last Monday afternoon. This feedback about their leadership was compiled from surveys taken by the attendees’ boss, peer and reports. Before having participants “open their envelopes,” Lou Centini discussed five things leaders can do to expand their effectiveness and encouraged them to create a personal leadership development plan in response. Centini is the lead faculty for the program, held at the University of Virginia’s Darden Graduate School of Business in Charlottesville, Va. Model the way: Find your voice by clarifying your personal values. Set the example by aligning actions with shared values. Operationalize this: Walk the halls, talk with others about your values and beliefs, spend time on your most important priorities, build on your successes and make choices public. “Do a calendar test,” Centini said. “Go back and look at your time. How did you spend it?” Inspire a shared vision: It’s not so much what a vision is but what a vision does. Have a vision and get others to go along with you. Operationalize this: Learn from the […]

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Hand-ling Security With Palm Biometrics

Survey shows many consumers are open to this kind of biometric authentication. By Bill Handel Sponsored by Fiserv Biometric security capabilities are making their way into everyday life, due in no small part to the growing numbers of smartphones enabled with touch identification capabilities. As consumers’ familiarity with biometric authentication grows, so does their willingness to use these technologies. According to survey results from Raddon Financial Group announced in May, a majority of U.S. consumers are willing to use biometric authentication—in the form of palm authentication—to verify their identity at a credit union or bank. In fact, 83 percent of survey respondents said they believe palm authentication is a valuable security measure. In addition, most (63 percent) said they are comfortable using palm authentication technology as a way to protect their privacy and financial data. In the survey of 1,200 consumers, conducted as part of the Raddon Research Insights program, Raddon also found that consumers that have been affected by identity theft or fraud were significantly more likely to express comfort with palm authentication technology. Almost three quarters of respondents (70 percent) who were identity theft or fraud victims confirmed this to Raddon during the survey, which was administered through […]

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What’s Your Influence Style?

CEO Institute II attendees discuss how to exercise their power to change the behavior, attitudes or values of others. By Lisa Hochgraf Power can be positional or personal, Beta Mannix told attendees of CEO Institute II at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., in August. When it’s positional, it is based on things like your rank in the organization, your network or alliances, or your visibility to your members, explained Mannix, associate dean for executive MBA programs, Ann Whitney Olin professor of management and professor of management and organizations. When it’s personal, it might have to do with your track record, your hard work or your expertise. Whatever your style, power can be leveraged to influence others. At the institute, attendees discussed some common styles of influence: Common vision. Demonstrating how ideas support broader goals can be a way to remind people of what the organization is working toward and that day-to-day decision-making should be tied to it. Bargaining. Negotiating a mutually satisfying outcome might be a good strategy when someone is making a concession to help your cause or when you have to choose one staff member’s proposal over another and you want to sweeten the situation for the person […]

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Will Blockchain Change The World?

Shared ledger technology could help consumers protect their identities. By Pam Brodsack Sponsored by TMG Can blockchain technology really change the world? Truth is, the world is already changing. While blockchain alone will not tip the planet on its axis, it may very well accelerate change by helping leaders reimagine business models, processes and solutions. Much of the reason the technology has people so excited is because of its promise to inject transparency and immutability into any situation, project or process it’s tracking. These qualities make it possible for us to imagine a single source of truth–one ultra-secure system that stores every piece of data we will ever need, never forgets it and makes it available to everyone. What Is Blockchain Technology, Anyway? Its essence is an unchangeable, shared ledger. Transactions are encrypted, recorded chronologically and shared publicly. The technology is a mash-up of other technologies, including distributed database and cryptography. Blockchain solutions can have one of two configurations: permissionsed–someone or something controls access–or permissionless–completely open; no control over access. Blockchain lends security because it stores precious digital cargo in blocks that are digitally stamped and distributed across multiple sites. If a block is maliciously altered, this action is immediately […]

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5 Success Factors for Collaborative Teams

CEO Institute II attendees apply team work concepts to real life. By Lisa Hochgraf At CEO Institute II at Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., last Wednesday, attendees spent the morning discussing a fictional case study about a cross-functional team that wasn’t working well. The obstacles faced in the case included personality conflicts, a weak CEO and an overall corporate culture that didn’t support collaboration. Before the discussion, Beta Mannix, associate dean for executive MBA programs, Ann Whitney Olin professor of management and professor of management and organizations, asked attendees to think about a work group they were leading or a part of and what obstacles it faced. After the discussion, she asked them to consider whether their team faced some or all of the issues highlighted in the case study. In all, Mannix said successful collaborative work is built on the following five factors: A mutual sense of purpose. What pulls you together? Why do you exist? Shared goals based on your purpose. Make your purpose concrete with goals—specific, real achievements that fulfill the purpose. Team-based reward system. Teams work interdependently and must be rewarded that way—whether in dollars or accolades. Clarity on roles and responsibilities. Not everyone can, or should, do […]

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Got Members Without Checking Accounts?

You might want to talk with them about the benefits of prepaid cards. By Bart Scott Sponsored by LSC It might seem hard to believe, but there are many credit union members who still don’t have share draft accounts. The reasons are varied. Some members have difficulty maintaining a balance due to fluctuating income. Some just choose not to use a share draft account. Regardless of the reasons, a cash-only lifestyle is getting harder to maintain, and money orders are inconvenient. Reloadable, prepaid debit cards may help them. Prepaid cards function like traditional debit cards, while offering even more safety and security as they’re not linked directly to a share draft account. They are easily reloadable and, because they cannot be overdrawn, they also work as a great budgeting tool. Plus they are accepted everywhere traditional Visa cards are, but without the high interest of credit cards. With a prepaid debit card, members can experience the convenience and comfort of shopping or paying bills online even if they don’t have a share draft account. If you have members who don’t have a share draft account, considering tell them about prepaid debit cards that are: • safer than cash: Branded cards’ […]

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5 Key Coaching Skills You Already Have

Adjust how you use them to be even more successful. By Kevin Higgins This is adapted with permission from Higgins’ book, Engage Me I have some great news! You have the skills that you require to be a world-class coach! You need to learn nothing new to be fantastic. Well, that’s not quite true. You need to learn how to adjust how you use the skills that you already have to be even more successful than you are currently. Here are the five skills we’ve all learned to use when coaching: Acknowledge. The use of verbals (such as yes, hmmm, and ah-ha) and non-verbals (body language like nodding our heads and making eye contact) acknowledges that we are genuinely listening to the person we are coaching and interested in what they are saying. Question. Questions help us gather information about the person we are coaching, their situation and their challenges. Ask them about their perspective. A good phrase to use is, “Tell me more about that.” Confirm. We use confirm to help us make the progress of our discussion very explicit. In communication, messages can get lost. Confirm allows us to ensure that we have correctly heard the person and […]

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Manage Members’ EMV Expectations

7 things to tell your members about why they should persevere with their EMV chip cards. By Michelle Thornton Sponsored by CO-OP Financial Services EMV technology is making inroads across the U.S. consumer landscape, benefitting credit unions and their members everywhere as an important weapon in the fight against card fraud. However, member experience with EMV may be less than ideal as checkout has suddenly become a lengthier and more cumbersome process. Educating your members about EMV—and setting their expectations as consumers—can help them understand why this technology is so essential to their well-being going forward: EMV transactions are well worth the wait. Members certainly may not like the additional steps it takes to check out. Remind them that security breaches can be very damaging to consumers—and much more inconvenient than the extra seconds involved in EMV transactions. EMV payment terminals are not all the same. Magnetic stripe transactions tend to be consistent regardless of the merchant, however new EMV payment terminals come from a range of manufacturers, each offering different models. Your members should expect the point-of-sale experience to vary from merchant to merchant. Full U.S. migration to EMV will likely take years. Explain to your members that updating […]

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Bringing Top Business Schools to You

CUES’ established track record and the high interest CU executives have in learning help the CUES institutes possible. Look around the average college classroom and you’ll see varying levels of commitment from students. Some aren’t there; some are sleeping; some are watching YouTube videos; and some are fully engaged. Look around the classroom during a CUES institute at a top business school and you’ll see cream-of-the-crop current and emerging leaders listening, taking notes, sharing ideas, debating issues, and even laughing in the process. Notably, this kind of collaborative learning is not possible in other industries. Being able to describe such a classroom situation, plus CUES’ own track record of working with top tier business schools, is key to CUES’ ability to build new institute relationships with highly regarded universities, according to Christopher Stevenson, CIE, CUES’ SVP/chief learning officer. “We start with an idea for a program based on a need in the industry,” he explains. “Based on the concept, I check the readily available business school ratings for the topic under consideration. For example, when I was developing CUES’ new Strategic Innovation Institute, both MIT and Stanford—where the institute’s segments are now offered—stood out.” Stevenson says outstanding business schools are […]

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A Member Service Rep at Every Desk

Recommendations for being more service-minded at various levels and in various departments. By Jeff Rendel, CSP In 2015, the post on this blog, “A CEO at Every (Employee) Desk,” explained how—in our members’ eyes—front-line leaders are the CEOs of every “moment and transaction.” Since members meet our front line more often than they visit with our executives, many credit union leaders have designed training sessions and systems to create an executive presence through all levels of their credit unions. Fast forward a year later and a feature of one credit union’s statement of values reads, “We all hold the title of member service representative.” This credit union realized that “the MSR in all of us” must appreciate that every member adds to a credit union’s success and all team members must value that contribution in how they go about their daily duties. “Regardless of how often we actually see members,” the credit union’s CEO said, “we must design our day around the question, ‘How will I serve my member?’” How do the various levels and departments of a credit union integrate this MSR presence of mind in daily duties? Here are some recommendations. Front-Facing Leaders. The mission of tellers, call […]

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The Two Ways Digital Disruption Is Happening

Gradually, then suddenly. By JP Nicols “How did you go bankrupt? Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly,” wrote Ernest Hemingway in The Sun Also Rises. This idea of things falling apart gradually, then suddenly, may also apply to the world of credit unions. For now the rumors of CUs’ deaths seem to have been greatly exaggerated. Despite all the recent talk about “digital disruption,” credit unions have survived the assault of their would-be disruptors to date. This makes one ask, has all of this talk about fintech been overhyped? Can we finally forget about chasing the latest technology and just get back to providing great service to our members? Well, yes and no. We are just in the early stages of digital disruption and things are happening fairly gradually in the near term. As Bill Gates said, “We tend to overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years, and underestimate the change that will occur in the next 10. Don’t let yourself be lulled into inaction.” The term “disruption” does not necessarily mean that the entire industry and all of its current participants will suddenly cease to exist. Disruptive innovation changes the game by creating new products, new […]

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Close to Quitting? 3 Ways to Get Back on Track

Lessons learned from writing my fifth book. By Michael Bungay Stanier This content appeared first on the Box of Crayons blog and is excerpted with permission here. I had a new book come out in February. The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More and Change the Way You Lead Forever is elegant, compact and already getting nice reviews. I’m really proud of it. And yet, this is the book I’ve come closest to abandoning. It’s taken me more than three years, at least four false starts, and a certain amount of head-banging despair to finally get here, something I didn’t experience with my other books. So what happened? And how did I make it after all? If you don’t know where you’re going, nobody else does either. The Coaching Habit is my fifth book, and I’d really thought I’d got the hang of things. Nope. I wrote a draft. I thought it was OK. (It wasn’t OK.) I hired a book agent. He’s a great agent, but it turned out that he only complicated my relationship with my editor. I fired my agent. I asked for a new editor at my publishing house. The new editor also didn’t like the first […]

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Measuring Your Mission

Aligning your board will make defining and achieving success more likely. By Charles Dahan In our experience with a broad array of non-profit organizations, those that are successful—in terms of attracting the best talent and increasing board and constituent engagement—are those with a clear and quantifiable mission. Some organizations view quantification as a risk: What if the organization falls short of the measured goals? Moreover, developing metrics can be challenging when board members have different goals and visions for the organization. Emphasizing board-level diversity, personal connections, and transparency dramatically improve the odds of success at reaching these goals. Diversity: Create a diverse board by encouraging existing board members to recruit beyond their immediate circle of friends and colleagues. A 2012 McKinsey report found diverse corporate boards produce 53 percent higher return on equity and 14 higher margins before earnings and taxes than companies led by the least diverse boards. Personal connections: Diversity may correlate with a lack of initial interpersonal connections between board members. Like any group, members must know that even if they disagree, each member has the best intentions of the organization in mind. Additionally, board members must attend meetings (and, when they attend, be prepared and well-informed […]

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Put a ‘Time Machine’ in Their Hands

Strong CU mobile apps are cool because they create time—and happy members. By Bart Scott Sponsored by LSC Credit union members live their lives on their mobile devices. Doing so saves them time and—in this on-the-go world—that’s important. Belonging to a credit union with a strong mobile application is like having a time machine in their hands—it gives them back lost seconds, minutes, even hours they would have once spent traveling to and from a branch to handle simple transactions. remote deposit – A simple click on a camera phone means not needing to go to an ATM or branch to deposit checks ATM locator – so they don’t have to drive around looking for cash when they need it. branch locations and hours – There’s nothing more frustrating than rushing to a branch to find out its closed, or there’s been one closer all along.   Think about your members’ needs. In addition to the items listed above, how could an app make their lives easier? Members expect quick answers, often outside of standard business hours. That means more than just being able to check their balance or transfer funds between accounts. Would your members like these features? mobile […]

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Do You Aspire to Being a High Performance Board?

Here are 15 ways to engage in best practice director behavior, plus four governance patterns you should consider. By Deedee Myers, Ph.D., MSC, PCC Each organization has a culture, a way of practicing values and beliefs. In a credit union, the culture starts at the top—in the boardroom—and emanates from there to the executive team and staff. When the board is in alignment to be high performing, the CEO has an easier job of creating and maintaining a highly engaged organizational culture. The board’s role is simple: strategy, policy and advocacy. How directors organize themselves to create an engaged and productive board centers on a commitment for the group to act as such, an engaged and productive board. Engaged and productive directors increase board fitness by modeling the credit union’s vision, mission, and values in and outside of the boardroom. Low-Hanging Fruit Here’s a list of 15 easy and common sense things you and your fellow directors can do on your path to being a high performing board. Believe in and advocate for the credit union. Know the vision, mission and strategic plan. Talk passionately about the credit union. Show appreciation. Separate your personal and professional life from the work […]

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Members Expect You to Provide Card Fraud Protection

A good prevention and mitigation strategy leverages process, technology and human expertise. By John Winstel Sponsored by Vantiv Fraud hurts consumers and merchants alike, but cardholders put an even greater level of trust in their financial institution to protect them and resolve any negative consequences associated with fraud. In fact, an Accenture survey reports that 74 percent of respondents expect fraud protection from their financial institutions. The impact of fraud on financial institutions goes far beyond the concrete dollars and cents and into the even more nebulous and sensitive area of consumer trust. Fighting fraud requires managers to have as much information as possible so they can aggressively identify problems and take steps to mitigate them. A good payments partner can be invaluable in providing information about fraud type (card present, card not present), the point-of-purchase transaction and the cardholder. This information can help formulate a solid fraud prevention strategy by leveraging processes, technology, and human expertise. Prevention Processes Making sure your fraud strategies include streamlined and highly effective processes is the first step toward reliable fraud mitigation. These processes should include, at a minimum, chargeback processing services for every point in the process, management of signature debit disputes, dispute […]

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Laser Focus Your IT Strategy

Make sure you connect your technology and business plans, and insist on upgrades. By Kristen Jason Sponsored by D+H Planning an IT strategy for any organization is challenging, but credit unions face additional complexities from regulatory and security requirements. And because CUs typically have limited IT staff to address desktop support, server hardware, applications, physical connectivity and other technical requirements, managers must search for new ways to address business needs while still being efficient and within budget. How can you balance your internal IT staff resources with the technical and business requirements of your financial institution? To be successful, your IT strategy must be laser focused. With the plethora of technologies that exist and the additional ones that are released each day, it is easy for an IT organization to get engrossed with the tactical aspects of technology before defining business requirements. Especially when limited resources and budget constraints exist, expending time and effort on extraneous projects cannot be afforded. While some define their focus for the coming year based on available technology, successful financial institutions align the technical strategy based on their predefined business strategy. For example, if your board of directors has chosen to focus on operational efficiency, […]

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Relatedness: The Key to Employee Engagement

When leaders connect with what’s important to their team members, dedication to the organization and commitment to the cause go up. By Sandra McDowell, CEC, PCC Do you want to engage others and increase their commitment to your organization? Let’s look at a key factor in how the social brain works. The need for people to experience a sense of belonging and attachment to other people is the essence of the social brain theory, the idea that animals in complex social groups have evolved larger brains. Current neuroscience research shows that our brains are wired to be social and that a feeling of being connected to others is essential to our well-being. Organizations have become less personal due to rapid growth, workplace virtualization, competitive pressures, and such communication tools as email, text and voicemail. As handy as electronic tools are for staying in touch, they are not a substitute for face-to-face interaction. Leaders often talk more about numbers and technology than they do about people and relationships. Consequently, as organizations grow, the feeling of connection or relatedness decreases. Fostering genuine relationships is about knowing others, and letting them know you. When a leader recognizes, accepts, or embraces what is important […]

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