The unprecedented events of the past few years have made all of our jobs even more demanding, forcing us to become harder-working, harder-driving executives.
Yes, gross domestic product is on the rise and many financial markets are once again delivering strong returns. While this would normally bring a sigh of relief among credit union executives, the fact is, we still have quite a few issues to work through.
Many of our members are suffering from unemployment, underemployment, or worries about employment, and the nascent rise in values of the homes that collateralize many of the mortgages on our books seems to have stalled.
Here’s the thing. We’re never going back to the easy, good old days, even if the government successfully manages a graceful end to quantitative easing and other massive government intervention in the financial markets.
We operate in a hyper-competitive, highly regulated industry. Yes, credit unions are more positively portrayed than our bailed-out counterparts in other parts of financial services, but we are under no less pressure to continually improve our products and services in the face of multiple uncertainties.
Members demand more, technology is moving at lightning speed, and pressure to keep down costs is relentless.
I would argue that constantly being prepared to identify and adapt to change—agility in today’s parlance—is what will separate the wheat from the chaff in the months and years ahead.
And perhaps that’s as it should be—those with vision, a strong member focus, and the willingness to see things in new ways will be the leaders, and the operationally effective ones will be those who can bring their organizations along with them.
Next: Changing the game