For credit unions, agility is the ability to consistently recognize and capture business opportunities before our competitors do. It’s the power to constantly think and draw conclusions, and then quickly take action.
The question becomes, “To what degree is my credit union agile, and how do I build the necessary skills, talents, and drive into my organization’s culture?”
In “How to Thrive in Turbulent Markets,” published in the Harvard Business Review in February 2009, Donald Sull indicated that organizations can achieve agility in three ways:
1. Operationally, through focused business and quick action;
2. On the portfolio level, by shifting resources into more promising business lines, and;
3. Strategically, by seizing game-changing opportunities.
While these three issues are in many ways interrelated and depend on similar approaches, let’s focus on the operational aspects—dealing with five primary areas to evaluate whether you have the agility to effectively deliver products and services in the face of so many unknowns.
Within each area (organization, market, delivery systems, technology, and operational support) there are a number of questions you must consistently ask, assess, and answer if you are to lead a truly agile organization:
Organization (people, teams, division of labor, and structure):
Market (market intelligence, products and services portfolio, marketing effectiveness):
Delivery systems (branch, phone, Internet, mobile):
Operational support (adaptability, automation, regulatory compliance):
Next: Times change, leaders lead