Playing Croquet with Lady Macbeth and The Outlaw Josey Wales

We may feel challenged, but determination will see us through.

June 3, 2013

A Memorial Day visit to my old homestead found me engaged in a cutthroat game of croquet with my assertive and determined brothers.

As mallets, balls, and obnoxious commentary flew, it was evident that we siblings each intended to win. It was also evident that vigilance, adherence to purpose, courage, and awareness of the playing field was crucial for victory. Croquet is serious business.

As a ball shot past Steven, he issued a groan of dismay. His opponents jeered. Things did not look good for the youngest.

Suddenly, Steven stood tall with raised fist. A hush fell over the amateur field as his countenance became a vision of resolution and persistence.

The words of Lady Macbeth passed his lips as he scowled at his mocking cohorts. “We fail? But screw your courage to the sticking place and we’ll not fail.”

Evan, dedicated fan of The Outlaw Josey Wales, vehemently responded with an atypical remark of encouragement and good sportsmanship. “Endeavor to persevere!”

At a rare loss for pithy rebuttal, I calmly requested they stop posturing and get back to the match. I had a game to win.

So it is in the world. A timely example for the credit union movement is the current “Don’t Tax My Credit Union” fight. We may feel challenged, but determination will see us through.

As you review this week’s research, think about how you “endeavor to persevere” in serving your members and in your work teams.

‘Success means having the courage, the determination, and the will to become the person you were meant to be.’—George A. Sheehan

Corporate culture sets the tone for business success. “Any great culture is born out of transparent, authentic communication. You can’t overcommunicate,” says Brad Garlinghouse, CEO of YouSendIt in an interview with The New York Times.

Garlinghouse rewrote his company’s values and is meeting success as a result. His methodology? “Be in, be real, and be bold,” he says.

“Be in” is all about passion, he says. Life is short. “Be real” is about being “authentic in our communication,” and being bold is an indicator of making attempts. “Great cultures encourage risk and are tolerant of failure.”

Mediocrity kills passion and inhibits “the extraordinary,” according to Management Excellence. This bit of insight suggests common sense and accountability will rule the day, and among the eight ideas to squelch mediocrity you will find:

  • Attitudes and actions make a difference;
  • Extraordinary achievements begin with management models;
  • Cultures need to require accountability for good results; and
  • Extraordinary behaviors need to exist for employees as well as customers.

One final bit of advice on nurturing success is found in “A Recipe for Success in Today’s Innovation Age,” from SmartBlog. It outlines “the three core elements that often mean the difference between high-performance success and eventual failure: innovation, customer centricity, and collaboration.”

This thought-provoking post will help you evaluate your own performance in these realms with questions to determine areas of improvement.

‘All mothers are working mothers.’—Unknown

Moms are in the news this week, and their incomes and shopping habits are important considerations for those dedicated to providing products and services catering to this cohort.

Breadwinner Moms” are examined in a new Pew Research report, which finds “a record 40% of all households with children under the age of 18 include mothers who are either the sole or primary source of income for the family.”

The report “finds that the public remains of two minds about the gains mothers have made in the workplace. Most recognize the clear economic benefits to families, but many voice concerns about the toll that having a working mother may take on children or even marriage.”

This detailed report provides various statistics on moms at work and public views on gender roles. Consider the effects societal views have on our economy and women’s spending habits as you review this interesting read. Determined and courageous women do make an impact.

Mobile Becomes Moms’ Daily Shopping Companion,” says eMarketer. “More than half of surveyed mom Internet users reported using their smartphone or tablet at least weekly for some aspect of shopping, whether research or buying.”

Learn that moms like the convenience of mobile. Do you accommodate these sentiments in your interactions with moms?

Did you know “50% of Moms Would Engage with Brands on Facebook If Rewarded?”  Plus, “80% of moms would buy more from a brand if rewarded.”

Rewards that would entrance mom include gift cards or free products. Two-thirds would like perks related to “elite status,” such as free shipping or branded merchandise.

In order to receive rewards, moms are willing to do the following:

  • Complete a survey or poll (72%);
  • Post a review (41%);
  • “Like" a Facebook page (57%); and
  • Share personal information and buying habits (41%).

‘Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more.’—Shakespeare, Henry V

Yet another opportunity exists to consider competition between banks and credit unions in a Federal Reserve St. Louis paper. The question for debate is, “Have the combined effects of the exemption from federal income tax plus the multigroup expansion possibilities permitted by the (Credit Union Membership Access Act) tilted the competitive balance away from banks and toward credit unions?”

The answer: “The evidence does not permit any sharp conclusions…the only safe prediction is that…credit unions and community banks will continue to grow more similar.”

Courage, determination, perseverance, and passion are all essential elements to success whether on the croquet grounds, at the office, or in most any aspect of living our daily lives. No situation is perfect, and it is tempting to abandon projects that stall or are fraught with challenges.

Find it in yourself to stay the croquet course. As Christopher Robin told Pooh, “Promise me you’ll always remember that you’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”






Lora Bray is a research librarian at CUNA.