There is an option to The Slow Fade.

Day after day after day, too many credit unions have kept doing the exact same thing they always have, for members they have always had. As a result, too many end up focused on trying to stay afloat with an aging membership and rising overhead costs, spending less and less money and effort on anything that can improve their future for the better, slowly getting smaller and smaller…

It’s sad to see, especially since they seem to have no idea there is an alternative to The Slow Fade.

(No, we’re not talking about the gradual withdrawal by someone who wants to fade out of a relationship in order to avoid a break-up, although there is a shared element of delusion about both circumstances.)

This Slow Fade is more about the unspoken decisions by the Board or Executive Team to avoid change, to not try anything new, “because that’s how we’ve always done it.” The comfort zone becomes a cave, and new possibilities are fewer and farther between.

However, The Slow Fade is not inevitable.

Sure, change is a big deal for some people, and there are likely several around you that will need convincing that any change is needed before they get on board. That’s why it helps to realize that there are several steps you can take, steps that build one upon another, that will open eyes and increase buy-in to change for the better:

Step 1: Discover what makes you “differenter”What makes you unique in your community or area? What are your strengths and weaknesses? One of the best tools we have found is a combination of anonymous and on-camera feedback from staff and members. An anonymous online survey allows respondents to say what is bothering them without risk, while video allows their full emotional investment to shine through as they share their favorite memories. Plus the final video is a great reminder as to why everyone is there in the first place.

Step 2: Start building a Master Plan for moving forward. Yes, a Master Plan may have multiple strategic components to it, from membership and products to physical locations, marketing and branding to communication. But don’t let that overwhelm you. Focus on one big goal, then break it down until each step feels like you can accomplish it.

Step 3: Pull in the resources you need, that complement the staff you have. Credit union staff are amazing, but even Super Humans sometimes need help when it isn’t a good fit for their Super Powers. You want to bring in outside resources that complement staff, that allow staff to continue to contribute through their strengths. Together, your staff and those resources can build something even greater than they could individually.

Step 4: Be completely transparent. Your staff and your members deserve to know what is going on, and to be included in the process.

Kent Dicken

Email this article to a friend or coworker.