Fighting through this unprecedented moment in history, people are looking for bright spots. Something which feels certain in an uncertain time. As a financial institution, your organization, YOU, have what they need. Community concern and support is part of your DNA, you really are a pillar in the community. Showing your strength, your leadership, will help so many reduce their stress and financial burden.
What does it take to be a leader as a financial brand? Here are some super powers to put into action:
Speak when others are quiet. Act when others are afraid. It will likely be scary, but do it anyway. Speak and act from a learned position. Take note of what is happening in the economy, your community, within your customer/membership base then create a point of view, a plan, a way forward.
What does this look like in your daily decisions? Making tough decisions for the right reasons, instead of weak decisions because it might be more comfortable. Is (fill in the blank) in the best interest of members long-term even if it means complaints in the short-term?
Use your bravery and knowledge to act quickly. Yes, sometimes acting quickly, being agile means having to adjust on the fly. It is often better to do something than to wait for perfection. Your agility will inspire others to also act which can then stimulate those around them.
Your agility as a smaller financial institution will also enable your to create more opportunities at a faster pace than the larger, more bureaucratic organizations. Seize the moment!
What does this look like in your daily decisions? Act quickly, but not as a knee-jerk reaction. Did your mayor or governor just announce a new policy or mandate? Gather data and potential impacts quickly, make the decision, then implement! Maybe the skip-a-pay offering needs to be adjusted after seeing initial numbers. Maybe you’re seeing that membership is having trouble with their rent and landlords in larger numbers. Adjust quickly!
Be available. Just be there and be there often. Being there can take many forms: videos of you, your leadership team; frequent & consistent education tips; excellent service when people reach out: so much more. Be on the local news or on social media with financial tips, be available.
What does this look like in your daily decisions? This will likely take some intentional effort to maintain, as you and your leadership will be pulled in a lot of different directions. But make the time, maybe at a certain time every day, to be available or create a video in a broader communication channel – could be a social network for membership outreach or an internal channel for staffers.
What an amazing time to show just how much your organization cares about the community and your account holders. Listen to your members then address their concerns. Do this on a personal one-on-one level, but also at a larger level. What web pages are they visiting most often? What search phrases are they using? What topics are in the news? Find their tender spots then create content to strengthen them, give them confidence. Put your member/client’s concerns, the community’s concerns, above the concerns of the organization.
What does this look like in your daily decisions? Now is not the time to run tone-deaf promotional campaigns, but instead run educational campaigns or offer products which help alleviate immediate financial concerns (ie, skip-a-pay, low-interest personal loans, reduced fees).
Your desire to help others, to actually put yourself in harm’s way in order to protect others, creates an inspiring environment – can motivate others to reach out to help their fellow man.
Altruistic actions create confidence that all of your decisions are based on helping others, not in advancing your own, or your organization’s interests. When people see you are acting for the good of others they truly feel more confident in you. This also instills hope for the future as people see you are working towards a communal benefit – rising tide lifts all ships, etc. etc.
What does this look like in your daily decisions? As you make your decisions, consider who it benefits and for what purpose. Are the progams, products, and services helping the majority of your members even if it means some tough times for credit union resources? Or maybe working in the office might feel like it’s helping the members, but are you putting yourself and others at risk as a conduit for germ spread? Deciding what actions help most people, even if it’s an uncomfortable result for some, is a mark of a true leader.
Now is the time for our true character to shine. Your financial brand can be the inspiration to help pull your members and clients through these uncertain times.
When YOU need some inspiration, a shoulder to lean on, a call to talk, please know I’m here! 256-714-6596