Thirty years ago, Home Depot placed equal importance on serving consumers and contractors, and had separate entrances for each. The retailer did ok serving both markets but wasn’t winning at either, and was losing market share to other providers.
It had to make a strategic decision: Serve home owners or contractors? Home Depot picked the former, and the rest is history, says Mollie Bell, CUNA’s chief engagement officer.
“They still offer discounts to contractors, but they had to focus their winning strategy on a particular customer,” says Bell, who addressed immersion18 by Trellance Wednesday in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. “They couldn’t be everything to everyone. Sound familiar?”
This example reinforces the need for organizations to “fiercely” go after the customers they want to serve, a key component of driving change.
Bell suggests taking five steps to drive change in your credit union:
1. Know your “who.” What consumers are you targeting?
“An organization needs clarity and focus,” says Bell. “You have to center your strategy on the perfect person you want to do business with. It can’t be everyone. Decide where you want to grow and focus on your perfect prospective member.
2. BHAG with a heart. Define your Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG), or aspirational stretch goal, by articulating your ideal future and setting specific and measurable benchmarks.
“Be aspirational and inspirational,” Bell says. “Set goals behind this, and make them front and center.”
3. Embed strategy. Make strategy part of your day to day thinking, and embed it into your culture.
“Ask strategic questions and drive strategic thinking throughout your whole organization,” she says. “Empower staff to think strategically and to ask strategic questions.”
4. Explore and experiment. Take risks and embrace problems, then explore, iterate, and experiment with potential solutions.
“You need to put resources behind this,” Bell says. “We need to determine how we approach risk. It’s not about risk aversion, it’s about risk management.”
5. Execute with excellence. Enable the execution of strategic decisions by bringing in execution expertise, namely project managers.
“Your employees aren’t project managers,” she says. “If an idea is big and hairy enough, you need to hire this expertise. It’s not the job of your team leaders.”
Bell encouraged attendees to get involved in the Credit Union Awareness Initiative, a modern brand platform created by CUNA and the Creating Awareness Advisory Group.
She directed attendees to the awareness website, awareness.creditunion (password: openyoureyes), to review the messaging guide and other resources.
“As an industry, we’re stronger together,” Bell says. “Whether you’re a $10 billion asset credit union or a $1 million asset credit union, we need partners to help us grow and survive. Going it alone is not a viable strategy.”