If you want to drive change at your credit union, think culture first and strategy second.
That’s one lesson Nicholas Mathiowetz has learned since becoming CEO four years ago at NorthRidge Community Credit Union in Hoyt Lakes, Minn.
“When I came in as CEO, we put a strategy together. But that changed quickly when we realized we weren’t who we wanted to be and that we needed to look at our internal culture,” Mathiowetz says. “You can have a great idea and a great structure, but if you don’t have the culture to make it happen, it’s all for naught.”
Being a new CEO is a constant learning experience, he says. “Anyone who walks into this for the first time and thinks they’re prepared will be quickly surprised. It took me about an hour to realize there was a lot more to do than I’d originally thought. Every day is different.”
One thing he wish he’d done as a new CEO: Slow down.
“We made a few changes pretty quickly in the beginning, and then we took a more deliberate approach as we moved forward,” Mathiowetz says. “I realized that what seemed like a reasonable pace was actually too quick. Slow down, develop your culture, and then move forward with your people.”
In this episode of the CUNA News Podcast, Mathiowetz describes the challenges involved in being a new CEO, his work with an executive coach, and advice he has for new leaders.