Can you name the various characteristics that makes a high-performing team member?
If not, we need to talk.
I’d bet you can name some important characteristics, or at least your senior management team can.
Let me see: hard-working, analytical, sales-focused, servant-minded—someone who takes the initiative.
If I am right, you just described a typical small business owner. So, what you are looking for is a team member with an entrepreneurial spirit.
In my experience, team members that have started, or want to start, their own businesses make fantastic employees. They are often creative, self-starting, and highly driven.
If they run a department for your credit union they will often run it as if it is their own. Therefore, ownership of opportunities and problems is not an issue.
For those reasons I rarely hire a new team member based on resume. Sure, it’s great to bring on staff with the experience and knowledge you are looking for because they can make an immediate impact.
But I’d rather hire someone with the qualities I am looking for and teach the rest.
You can teach someone how to open a share account or take a loan application. But you can’t teach phenomenal customer service or desire.
Want to be on the cutting edge and separate your credit union from the competition with innovative solutions? Encourage them to think like owners.
I mentioned this during an interview with Credit Union Magazine at CUNA's 2014 Community Credit Union Conference:
By fostering, rather than hindering, team members and their individual pursuits you are playing to their passions and strengths.
When you leverage their strengths and allow staff to focus on them, the benefit to your credit union can be dramatic: You will have happier, more productive team members that are engaged in what they are doing.
JONATHAN PATRICK is senior vice president/chief lending officer for $222 million asset UT Federal Credit Union in Knoxville, Tenn., and the founder of three startups. Patrick was named one of Credit Union Magazine’s 2014 Credit Union Rock Stars.