Implementing a sales and service culture within your credit union doesn’t just take a well-thought out plan. It also requires earning the trust of all employees and getting them to buy into—and take ownership of—the new culture.
That’s the word from Carla Schrinner (pictured above), implementation manager and senior master trainer for CUNA Creating Member Loyalty. She addressed CUNA’s Sales and Service Culture Institute Monday in Madison, Wis.
CUNA’s Sales and Service Culture Institute is based on the work of Dr. John Kotter, a Harvard PhD who is known as the godfather of change management, Schrinner says.
Kotter developed an eight-step approach that Schrinner says will help “win over the hearts and minds" of staff:
1. Establishing a sense of urgency
Examine your competitors and the overall marketplace to determine what opportunities exist for your credit union to grow.
This process helps to engage employees more quickly.
2. Creating a guiding coalition
The coalition is a group of employees from all areas of the credit union that will work together as a team to lead the change.
Schrinner says those in leadership roles should not be included on the coalition to ensure all voices are heard.
3. Developing a vision and strategy
Crafting a vision statement—what your credit union sets out to accomplish—will direct your credit union toward the path it should take to implement the sales and service culture change.
Doing so also will help you develop a strategy to achieve your goals. Schrinner says any tasks carried out in the credit union must advance its mission and vision.
4. Communicating the change vision
Use every communication method possible to convey the new vision and strategy to employees.
Have members of the guiding coalition model the new behaviors that will be expected of all employees, Schrinner says.
5. Empowering a broad-based action
Implementing culture change requires eliminating obstacles that may undermine the proposed changes, Schrinner says.
“Give the guiding coalition and staff the power to move mountains,” she says.
6. Generating short-term wins
Don’t wait to celebrate the overall goal, Schrinner says. Instead, celebrate small milestones as a way of recognizing and rewarding efforts that are working.
“It’s the little things we do every day that add up to big wins,” Schrinner says.
7. Consolidating gains and producing change
Implementing change requires gaining the trust of your employees. Use this newfound trust and credibility to change all of the structures, policies, and systems that don’t fit the transformative vision.
This includes hiring, promoting, and developing people who are on board with the new vision and reinvigorating the process with new projects, themes and change agents.
8. Anchoring new approaches in the culture
Make the changes permanent by implementing behaviors that focus on customers and productivity, ensure leadership is on board with the change in culture, and management is effective. Point out how the new behaviors and successes are connected and put in place a plan that addresses development or a succession plan for leadership to maintain continuity. “This takes trust and ownership. The goal is to take concepts and turn them into a plan,” Schrinner says.
“Sales and service should never be owned by one person in an organization,” Schrinner says. “It belongs to the entire organization. The goal here is to discover how to get everyone involved and on board.”
Why do organizations fail at implementing change initiatives? Schrinner offers several reasons:
“Once you start on this journey, you’re never really done,” Schrinner says. “There’s always something you can do.”