Attendees build leadership skills during ELEVATE Credit Union Leaders

Posted: Sep 8, 2020 | Author:

During ELEVATE Credit Union Leaders, a first of its kind online experience powered by Cornerstone in collaboration with other leagues from across the country, attendees heard from industry experts, engaged with peers from 28 states, and interacted with a variety of solutions providers during the virtual EXPO hall.

Designed for credit union leaders at all levels, including those who lead self, lead people, lead business, or serve on a volunteer board, the conference’s interactive activities ELEVATED attendees’ performance and leadership skills.

On Tuesday, Chad Helminak, director of the Credit Union Development Educator Program and Cooperative Culture for the National Credit Union Foundation, discussed “Putting Empathy Into Action." In his presentation, Helminak defined empathy as a process through which individuals experience and understand others' feelings. He also stressed that to be effective in using empathy, you must listen to learn.

Helminak also outlined the following five steps to encourage empathy in your organization.

  1. Education: Employees need to understand what empathy is, how to put it into practice, and why it matters.
  2. Time: Employees need time and space to practice empathy, make mistakes, reflect on interactions, and build confidence.
  3. Environment: Members and employees need safe environments and forums to share their voices and have their voices heard.
  4. Strategy: Empathy can support the success of your organization’s strategy, goals, and culture.
  5. Results: Credit unions should be transparent in distilling observations into insights and ideas and communicating how they improve the business.

Helminak closed the session, suggesting you start small by helping one person and repeating this action to help change the world.

On Wednesday, Angela Prestil, speaker, consultant, and team member with CU Difference, presented “Creating Change that Lasts: Goal Setting Through Mind Mapping.” As part of her session, Prestil walked participants through setting micro-goals to finish faster, achieve higher quality results, and build confidence.

According to Prestil, if you repeat small behaviors often enough, they can become micro-habits and develop into more complex habits. To create micro-goals:

  1. Choose a cue, such as beginning after you finish your second cup of coffee each day.
  2. Try the behavior, such as contacting one new member each day.
  3. Enjoy the reward, boosting your confidence, and then adding to it.

Prestil also described how brain scientists have found that visual goal setting, combined with immediate action, hits internal success buttons. Applying mind mapping, she set up three columns. The left column includes your current reality. The middle column lists bold steps, and the third one contains your desired new reality. Using crayons or map colors, brainstorming keywords, and making simple drawings, you fill in all the columns, narrowing down your bold steps. From there, she advises you to post your mind map where you can see it daily, write down your first action steps and carry them with you, and replace your micro-goals with new ones as you complete them.

Candice Doby, a national speaker, entrepreneur, and mentor, describes, "The Courage to Have Hard Conversations" during one of Thursday's sessions. Doby started her presentation with a story about an insensitive and unprofessional comment a boss made to her during a team meeting early in her career. She uses this example to illustrate some of the hard, uncomfortable conversations you may need to have. She defines courage as a choice to take a risk for a worthy purpose.

Doby provides the following framework to determine the risk, your reason or motivation, and your resources.

  • Courage: Taking action.
  • Resources: Technique, competence, and confidence.
    • Technique means having the words for the conversation.
    • Competence is the ability to be vulnerable and uncomfortable, as well as the ability to figure out the next steps, depending on the outcome of the conversation.
    • Confidence represents the trust you have in your abilities.
  • Reason or motivation: The risk is worthwhile if it is aligned with your personal values and purpose. If your reason is based on factors such as gaining attention or money, the risk is not worth the potential outcomes.
  • Risk: Evaluated from two sides: Downsides of having the conversation versus the risks of not having the conversation. The downsides may include job loss, retaliation, ridicule, or loss of respect. The risks of not having the conversation could be not standing up for yourself, not setting boundaries, or not being heard.

Doby advises that you write out the words you wish to say and practice them in front of your bathroom mirror to help you prepare for a difficult conversation. 

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