Musings from the CU Suite

Feb 04, 2022

Your NAFCU Weekend Reading Pile; Getting President Reagan's Attention

Years ago, a small group of officials had a problem.

They were trying to get President Reagan’s attention on a matter. A new Soviet tank factory had started production, and military officials were worried that the massive scale of the factory could create a strategic problem for the U.S. and NATO.

They tried briefings. Memos. But they couldn’t get the attention of the President or his close advisors on the matter. As you can imagine, plenty of people try to jam their way into the President’s day with their agenda. The President has several gatekeepers to limit unnecessary interference.

President Reagan

One of my favorite photos of our 40th president.

Then someone had a crazy idea…to use a map.

The next time they tried to get the President’s attention, they laid down a map of downtown Washington, D.C. The map focused on the monuments, and the Washington Mall.

Fair enough. But what was their point?

They placed an overlay of the tank factory on top of the map. The factory was larger than the Washington Mall.

There were a few gasps. The President asked if the overlay was accurate. “Yes, sir,” was the reply.

The President paused and then said something along the lines of…you have my support. We need to do something. 

I love that story. I read it years ago (and struggled, and failed to find the source last evening). But it reminds me time and time again that…

  • When communicating, your goal is not to write long memos, be funny, sound smart, or use fancy words. Your goal is to communicate ideas effectively.
  • Not everyone consumes information the same way. Or the way that you do. President Reagan was very visual. That isn’t surprising for someone so successful in cinema.
  • Whenever anyone is presented with something new, the first thoughts in their head is…why do I care? Why am I reading this? How does this help me?  If they can’t figure those things out, they’ll tune out.

Now - on to the weekly reading pile.

  • Thoughts on bank branch closures. (FB)
  • Avoid these business buzzwords. (FastCo)
  • It could be years until we see a normal housing market. (AWOCS)
  • A military veteran has interesting thoughts on why workers are resigning. (McKinsey)
  • Here we go again. (Godin)
  • What will “gas” stations look like in the future? (FastCo)
  • Culture, purpose and pay will stem the great resignation. (CEO World)
  • Top mobile app trends. (FB)
  • The cost of long-distance trucking freight reflects the broader economy. (Economics 21)
  • Facebook’s user number shrunk for the first time in its history. (BI)

About the Author

Anthony Demangone, Executive Vice President and COO, NAFCU

Anthony Demangone, NCCO is Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at NAFCU, where he oversees day-to-day operations and manages the association's education, marketing, membership, human resources, building facilities, finance and information technology functions. He also authors NAFCU's executive blog, Musings from the CU Suite and co-authored "Managing and Leading Well," a book for credit union leaders, with NAFCU President and CEO Dan Berger.

Read full bio