Important components of a successful onboarding program include:
But CEOs say there are other important ideas to take away from the process. Leaders often don’t fully realize these ideas until they complete their onboarding process and immerse themselves in their new job of leading the credit union.
First, it’s vital to form and maintain a healthy relationship with the board. These individuals—the CEO’s boss—play a crucial role in making decisions that impact the credit union and how it functions. The board also plays a role in the CEO’s success—or failure.
“You just went from having one boss to having many bosses,” Carangi says. “That’s a big change, and you don’t realize the significance of it until it happens.”
While the CEO title comes with a sense of power and responsibility, it also brings with it a “sense of aloneness,” Hayes says. This is a feeling new CEOs often underestimate.
The CEO is in a position where others come to him or her for guidance or answers. In previous positions, there was always a higher-ranked leader that a person could go to for advice.
“You must work through issues on your own, and that can be uncomfortable,” Hayes says. “Unless you have a network or mentor, you’re really on your own. You don’t have anybody to bounce ideas off of, and you’re walking into a brand new culture.”
Also, CEOs must understand that change will not occur overnight.
When assuming the leadership role, CEOs have ideas about how to tweak policies, procedures, products, and services to ensure the credit union functions more efficiently and better serves its members.
They also know it’s important to be seen as a decisive leader so everyone knows where the credit union is going, Hayes says.
But be cautious in rolling out too many changes too quickly, Wilson advises. Instead, study the credit union and collect the necessary data to make sure those changes—which might look good on paper—are actually the best moves for the credit union.
“Don’t make any impulsive decisions,” Wilson says. “Take time to evaluate the organization by gathering as much information as possible. That will give you enough data to make the key, critical decisions for the long-term future.”