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'You're in the Top C-Suite - Now What?'
Thursday, September 26, 2013 5:20 AM

You are at long last, or have been for some time, the CEO of your credit union.  For argument’s sake, let’s presume that your existing CEO position is your last.  What’s next for you?

Peruse any book concerning CEO effectiveness and success, and Jeff Rendel, a certified speaking professional, says you might read of topics like building a confident partnership with your Board; casting your vision of credit union success; gaining commitment from your senior leaders; directing your time and remaining focused on your strategic dashboard; and, creating an organizational culture dedicated to executing your vision and strategies at every level. 

“Odds are high that you do this every day in some way,” says. “Do these things well and dependably, and you should find success in meeting your quarterly, yearly, and three-year strategic measures and goals.”

But, what about the success of your credit union when you have handed the reins over to your successor?  How can you construct the kind of model that will allow your credit union to thrive for the long haul?  How can you transform your credit union, making it and the next generation of leaders prepared for opportunities and challenges they have not yet seen?

“The approach to shape your credit union – and your legacy, the direction that will outlast you – is to center your concentration on the particulars that your credit union can do better than any other financial institution,” notes Rendel.

Rendel suggests credit unions consider building the following areas of focus into their individual strategic plan for your credit union’s lasting success.

  1. Where is your credit union already distinguished?  Here, your focus is on guaranteeing that the core of your business – deposits and loans – is the best it can be.  In “Great by Choice,” by Jim Collins, Collins describes how companies with long-term sustainable growth keep the lion’s share of their growth efforts centered on their core markets.  On average, companies with sustained success keep 70 percent of their growth focused on improving their core market.  What advances viable success in your core market?  Greater member loyalty?  Increased lifetime value and member profitability?  A larger physical footprint and presence in your market?  Specifics will vary, but the universal outline is to advance the permanence of your core business.
  1. Where do your members need your credit union to be?  One credit union in the South has a mission statement which describes the credit union as “a service organization.”  The CEO explains that the term does not limit his credit union to financial services, but keeps open the possibility of new lines of business that serve his member-owners.  With your core market established and growing, what’s next and appropriate for your members, and profitable for their credit union?  Do business services serve the future needs of your members?  Insurance and wealth management services?  Opportunities unconnected to financial services, but correlated to products and services your members use every day?  Within your membership and community is also a built-in consumer base that your credit union might serve in and out of financial services.   
  1. What leaders must be readied to continue your pursuit of exceptionality?  A.G. Lafley, past CEO of Proctor & Gamble, realized early in his tenure as CEO that a deep pool of talent was necessary for P & G’s strategic success.  With an eye toward succession planning, he created a team around him where some could be CEO one day.  He tasked each with responsibilities typical of a CEO – profit and loss, new markets, and innovation to name a few – and he held each accountable for their successes and shortcomings.  Upon his retirement, he presented candidates to his Board who were qualified and ready to run a business, not only a department.  For you as CEO, who might be CEO of your credit union?  What assignments and responsibilities help them lead the enterprise as well as their own day-to-day duties?  What helps your Board see their leadership in action, assisting your Board in their future CEO hiring responsibility?  

“By focusing your credit union on these three drivers of permanence, you will lead in the direction of a long-lasting legacy of success,” assures Rendel. “You will create much more than short-term financial success, growth in market share, and an outstanding CAMEL rating.  You will present to your members a stronger credit union, led with the skills, understanding, and dedication to carry on that success.