The honor of serving an organization on a leadership team is an ever-evolving challenge that pushes boundaries and requires a variety of strategies to be successful.
Particularly in large organizations such as a credit union, leadership needs to be agile and diverse to be truly effective, but it also requires a framework or structure that can be widely applicable across teams and partnerships. All organizations need interdependence in order to optimize operational efficiency and effectiveness.
Developing a leadership framework is at the heart of the challenge and probably one of the most enjoyable and rewarding jobs anyone can do. The leadership framework should give everyone a voice, clarify roles / responsibilities, establish core values, identify role models and ensure alignment across the organization. A common question among new leaders is, “How do you motivate every member of your organization / business unit towards a common vision without the ability to connect one-on-one on a regular basis?” “
In the credit union industry, personal touch and corporate culture are the keys to success in all areas of the business. Credit unions put people first and their leaders must make it a priority.
Create a shared vision for the organization
As the leader of a credit union, it is essential to create a common vision and purpose that is understood by the entire organization. This helps ensure that each individual understands their role in the context of the organization, and helps protect their voice and ability to participate in the gains of the business.
Credit unions are not just financial institutions. These are organizations that are founded to help specific communities with their financial needs. This is a fundamental part of the raison d’être of any credit union and this mission helps establish a shared vision for the organization.
However, a strong leader must learn to articulate this vision and ensure that it becomes a common language among every individual and department across the organization.
There are many strategies to achieve this, but a practical method is to develop core organizational values, which are a fundamental aspect of any effective and aligned organization.
Core values and behaviors must be established, but it must be done in a thoughtful, deliberate, and inclusive manner, otherwise they will be accidental or worse, top to bottom. Core values cannot be dictated. Core Values act as a set of guiding principles for the team and create agreed upon desired behaviors, which are internalized by individuals and in the day-to-day work of the organization.
The established framework of desired behaviors is a way to communicate the expectations and culture of the organization to potential new team members, while also providing a quick route for new employees to help them understand the organization at a level Deeper.
A culture of growth and responsibility must permeate the entire organization
From entry-level (entry-level positions) to the board of directors, it’s crucial for a good credit union leader to develop a culture of growth and accountability through strong alignment across the organization. Central to this goal is that members should be placed at the forefront of the organization’s value proposition.
If the vision, mission and high-level goal of a credit union are perfectly aligned with all stakeholders, then it becomes much easier to effectively guide the organization.
With a word of caution for potentially oversimplifying for the sake of this article, it’s essentially a clear alignment between every coach / player relationship across the organization. Leading consulting firms have found that the average alignment between a manager and his direct reports (we call them coaches / players at UCU) is between 47% and 51%. Depending on the number of layers within an organization, alignment within an organization could easily drop to 12% and that assumes everyone is performing the same as their industry peers.
An often overlooked alignment, and probably one of the most important, is that of the board of directors with the CEO and then the management team.
The seven best practices for ensuring organizational alignment are:
1. Establish a clear and agreed framework of roles for each group, including the board of directors, oversight committee, other volunteer positions, and the CEO.
2. Remember that the board of directors is the governing body of the credit union and it is impossible to govern when it is in operation.
3. The board should focus on long-term strategies and be a partner of the CEO.
4. The organization must establish a process of communication, focusing on the inclusiveness of everyone in the business.
5. The organization should design work management systems that ensure alignment of day-to-day activities and initiatives within the established set of priorities, ultimately contributing to the achievement of organizational strategy.
6. Continuing education and research in this area will support the success of the organization.
7. Measure, monitor and improve organizational alignment.
Establish frameworks for success
In order to ensure strong alignment with a shared vision within a credit union, it is important that leaders establish frameworks for success in all areas of the business.
While individuals and departments need a certain level of independence and freedom to collaborate and pursue their own initiatives, effective frameworks must persist throughout the organization to facilitate internal communication and provide boundaries that guide the organization. orientation towards the mission to be accomplished.
This extends to all types of systems, including a standard communication system, work management systems, compensation structures, accountability systems, recruiting systems, talent development and all other areas. essential to the success of the organization.
As important as these frameworks are, it is even more essential to ensure that there is a high level system in place that actively inspects, validates and improves these systems on an ongoing basis. This helps ensure that the systems in place are genuinely effective and functioning as intended to support your teams against the unified vision of the organization.
Stakeholders are the best indicator of success
Leadership in a credit union is multi-faceted, which means that there are many competing priorities and interrelated strategies at any given time. While a unified vision, culture of growth and accountability, and established frameworks for success is a hypothetical best practice for any organization, it is important to recognize the reality of implementation and the challenges that require iteration and development. constant adaptation to fully achieve success as a credit union.
In a given credit union, there are multiple stakeholders with different needs and relationships with the organization. Ultimately, these stakeholders are the best indicator of success for any leader.
It’s important for leaders to connect with all of their stakeholders and actively seek out any potential pain points, and then relentlessly continue to break down any friction they may encounter. A leadership methodology like this strives for excellence across an organization and ensures that a people-centered perspective is always maintained.
Dr. David L. Tuyo II is President and CEO of the $ 954 million Los Angeles-based University Credit Union.