Put strategy first
As leaders of companies and organizations, we have a lot of control over our destiny. Each of the decisions we make – whether it's related to hiring, training opportunities, product development, or member/customer service – can bring us closer to success. Of course, some of our decisions won't be the right one, but the best we can do is put a strategy in place to keep us on the right path.
Leadership coach Brad Chase has an interesting twist on a well-known equation – Einstein's E=mc2 – to help leaders develop strong strategy. Chase's equation: Strategy=E×mc2 in which "E" represents execution, "m" is market potential, and "c" is customer – or member – value.
- Customer/Member Value: It's important to first understand your target audience and how your organization can meet their needs. The value your members/customers get out of your products and services is what's most important (which is why Chase squares it in the equation). That's why providing "extreme member service" is part of my organization's mission statement. I previously spoke on this approach and my colleagues' dedication to our members on the CUInsight Experience Podcast.
- Market Potential: What is the demand for your products and services? How many competitors are offering similar things within the market? What makes you different from your competitors? Is there potential to reach more members/customers? These questions are important to consider so you understand your profitability and can better manage your budget to invest in areas that are most important.
- Execution: This is where your leadership really comes into play. You must create an office culture that encourages teamwork – not competition among each other – and innovation to solve problems. Hiring the right people that fit your culture and fill gaps in knowledge or skills is next. You then need to clearly communicate your vision, how each employees' role fits into it, and give them the tools and resources needed to complete responsibilities successfully.
The business landscape is always changing – whether caused by new technologies, a global pandemic, or societal values. Leaders must be willing to adapt to ensure your organization continues to provide value to its members/customers.
By putting strategy first and leading the right way, you will assemble a strong team that is able to hit goals and ultimately meet your mission.
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About the Author
B. Dan Berger first joined NAFCU in 2006 and helped turn the association into the premiere advocate for the credit union industry. Since becoming president and CEO in 2013, Berger, who is also an author, economist, and one of Washington's top lobbyists, is credited with bringing national attention to key policy issues, while ensuring NAFCU's members meet policymakers at the highest levels of government.