Everyone has a superpower, says Erik Qualman, technology and digital leadership expert

Harness your superpower to succeed digitally

Find your strength and use it to your advantage, advises technology leader Erik Qualman.

October 10, 2023

Everyone has a superpower, and with the fast pace of technology, credit union leaders need to draw on those superpowers to harness technological advances and bring smiles to members’ and teammates’ faces.

“Technology changes every second, but human nature never does,” says Erik Qualman, a technology and digital leadership expert who addressed the 2023 CUNA Operations & Member Experience Council and CUNA Technology Council Conference in Denver. “You have to understand how to layer the pieces, but remember it’s all about the members, employees, and your teammates. People tell us what they like and don’t like. It’s up to us to capture that information, and surprise and delight them.”

Qualman breaks down five habits that allow digital leaders to make the most of the new technology that’s available. “You’re good at all five, but you’re super strong on one of them,” Qualman says. “That’s your superpower.”

The five habits are:

1. Simplify. Subtract friction to go further faster, Qualman advises. A prime example is multitasking, or switch tasking. While people have good intentions when they multitask, it often makes them less productive and less healthy. Instead, simplify your efforts and focus on one task at a time.

‘Technology changes every second, but human nature never does.’
Erik Qualman

2. True. Everyone has a digital stamp—the modern version of your reputation. It’s made up of your digital footprint, or what you upload, and your shadow, what others post about you.

To produce and protect your best digital stamp, be intentional about how you want to be known, and step into your story. Also, start with an end goal in mind and work backward to the beginning.

3. Action. Fear of failure is the top reason people fail to act. However, Qualman suggests looking at failure differently.

“Failure is part of the process,” he says. “Failure doesn’t make you better. Evaluating failure makes you better.”

By failing fast, forward, and better, people can adjust, evaluate what did and didn’t work, and learn from those mistakes.

4. Map. Have a vision or goal. Know what you want to accomplish. When hurdles occur, divert from your path, but do what’s necessary to move toward the end goal. “Be flexible in your path, but firm in your destination,” Qualman says.

5. People. Surround yourself with the right people, both online and offline, and build those relationships by asking the right questions. The better questions you ask, the better quality of the relationships you can have, Qualman says. 

“Do we have focus on the big items or are we getting pulled into the busy?” Qualman asks. “Technology allows us more time to spend with our members, employees, and teammate to surprise and delight them.”