The Humble Leader’s Guide for Credit Union Resilience

There is a delicate dance of expressing gratitude this time of year. There is a stronger desire to show employees appreciation through festive cheer, gift-giving, and sugary bliss in the breakroom. But how can you go beyond surface appreciation? Expressing thanks and showing appreciation fosters a sense of mutual respect and connection with others. However, wouldn’t you agree that gratitude should know no season? If we take a deeper look at what the holidays are all about, it’s a season of reflection and preparation of our own hearts. Humility involves being modest, unassuming, and learning from others. It’s acknowledging that you don’t have all the answers. As you lead your credit union to finish the year strong and are diligently focused on the next 12 months, you may view humility as the least important. And you would be wrong (that wasn’t very humble, was it?). Humility is the soil to which all virtues grow. Here’s why: Openness to Learn Openness to learn in a humble context involves acknowledging that others may see and interpret the world differently. It is a call to eradicate selfishness from leadership. Use this time to grow, evolve, and refine your understanding of your credit union. Engage with your team openly. Put yourself in someone else’s shoes. By understanding the journey, challenges, and triumphs of your team members, you will uncover areas for continuous improvement and skill development. Appreciate the “how” as much as the “what” for what they do for your credit union. Do this well and you set a tone for a learning culture within the credit union. Approachability Have you ever stated that you have an “open door policy,” and yet no one ever seems to use it and you wonder why? Here’s why… You are placing the onus solely on the employee, which is one-sided. We know this doesn’t work in marriage or parenting, and it doesn’t work in the workplace. Second, when people hear “open door policy,” the word “policy” is right there. Policies are generally not very open, but restrictive, and your employees don’t have a sense of being heard or valued. Approachability is reflected in your demeanor, and humility is key to demonstrating genuine interest in understanding different viewpoints. Give your full attention, show that you’re listening, avoid interrupting, and suspend judgment. By incorporating these into your communication style, you can enhance your active listening skills and build stronger connections with others. Inspiring Trust A humble leader is not afraid to admit when they are wrong. It demonstrates authenticity and vulnerability, creating an environment where team members feel comfortable admitting their errors and working together to find solutions. Likewise, view setbacks by others as opportunities rather than failures. By being resilient, you inspire your team to navigate challenges with a positive and solution-oriented mindset. And, of course, recognize success at your credit union. Acknowledge effort, not just results. Emphasize that success is a result of the combined skills and dedication of the entire team. Find opportunities to praise and appreciate your staff in team meetings, public forms, or through written communications. It positions you as the best place to work. The holidays serve as a natural pause in the year – an opportunity to look inwards, appreciate the journey, and set intentions for the future. Yes, be grateful, and use this time to be mindful and present in the moment. Humility is a cornerstone of servant leadership. As Vice President of Brand Experience for Your Marketing Co., Frank Allgood works with credit unions to develop strong leaders, create effective training programs, and build powerful brands. Want to connect? Call 864.326.8740 or email frank@yourmarketingco.com.

From Benny Goodman to Credit Union Leaders: Breaking the Noise Barrier and Embracing the Future

“I guess people used to think my music was noise.” Toward the end of his career the “King of Swing” Benny Goodman was due to record at a studio. Just down the hall a punk rock band was recording. Benny’s manager arrived at the studio first and heard the other band playing and kindly asked the studio manager to ask them to stop while Benny was in the building. Of course, since the punk rock band was also paying for studio time the studio manager politely said, “I’m sorry, I cannot do that.” Shortly after Goodman arrived at the studio and stopped at the door to where the punk rock band was playing. He stood and listened for a few minutes as the punk rock band continued playing and recording. Goodman looked at his manager and quipped, “I guess people used to think my music was noise.” In the first half of the 20th century, the era of Swing and Big Band was embraced and beloved by high school and college-age kids but looked down upon by the older generation. According to an NPR study, the music we listen to between the ages of 17 and 22 is what sticks with us for the remainder of our lives, and we tend to cringe at anything “new” as we get older. Yet, we forget that the musical preferences we carry with us through our older years was once new and was once considered “noise” to an older generation. As seasoned credit union leaders, how easy it is to look at new technologies and new ideas with contempt and brand it as “noise.” How easy it is to be nostalgic about the way things were when we started in the industry and brushing aside the energetic next generation. As seasoned leaders, we bring a lot of experience and perspective to the table, but how foolish we are to pretend that the world does not continue to move forward. Innovation is happening more rapidly than ever before. How sad it is that our stubbornness is killing credit unions that could be doing so much for the next generation of members.

Selfish Credit Unions Kill Opportunities

When credit union leaders and board members resist change in favor of the comfort of the familiar past, all in the name of love of the credit union, I ask one question:  “What is your credit union story from when you first joined?” I tend to hear emotional and moving stories about the many firsts that the credit union helped with, and the tough times that the credit union helped them navigate through the years. My follow up question: “Why are you so against the next generation having that same opportunity?” The board is so protective of what was, there is no way to serve the next generation. We must embrace Louise Herring’s words: “We must remember what we started out to do and find the modern tools to do it.” I don’t know why, but as I was having this conversation with a board several weeks ago, an old folk song came to mind that I remember singing in elementary school: Love is something if you give it away, You end up having more. It’s just like a magic penny, Hold it tight and you won’t have any. We must remember why we exist, and the true benefits experienced by previous generations of members and work hard through your credit union strategic planning to not hold on tight to what was, but to look forward to the needs of the next generation of credit union members and change for the sake of staying relevant. At Your Marketing Co., “We exist to avoid the unnecessary merger of credit unions by helping to educate, engage and retain the next generation of credit union members.” We would be honored to do that for you. Reach out when you’re ready!

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Reh Harvey

Vice President of Digital Strategy

Reh Harvey, our Vice President of Digital Strategy, leads with diligence and fervor. Having previously been a member of Team YMC, he is excited to return to such an amazing culture and even more amazing people (his words)! Through his experience in the marketing world, he’s found the key to success is to stay on the cutting edge and to always keep evolving.
 
Although originally drawn to marketing for its lack of math, Reh now finds himself doing more math than he would’ve bargained for. But his self discipline and positive attitude make it easy for him to laugh and take it in stride. Hoping to one day visit Japan and enjoy some premium Sushi, Reh lives life by his creed: Be a good human. Do good work. And above all, just keep going.

Hailey Madej

Graphic Designer

As YMC’s in-house Graphic Designer, Hailey possesses an eye for detail and a drive to innovate. It’s no surprise though since being creative runs in the family! Inspired from an early age by her mom’s work as a Graphic Designer, Hailey is a seasoned expert whose talents bring vitality and accessibility to every project. As a UX/UI designer, she expertly blends the intuitive and the creative for all to enjoy.
 
In addition to the occasional freelance project, Hailey also lends her abilities to supporting art initiatives within her community, such as the Belleville Mural Project. Her favorite aspect of joining the YMC team is the friendly, uplifting culture and breadth of design tasks. When it comes to marketing, she believes in pushing boundaries and maybe breaking some rules to capture her audience’s attention. Her advice to those just starting out? “Always seek quality over quantity.”

Dexter Ochoa

Development Assistant

When it comes to blending logical thinking and creative problem solving, Dexter’s abilities are undeniable! Beginning his career as a Web Developer, he’s no stranger to the wide world of Marketing and Advertising. Calling Biñan City in the Philippines home, Dexter has a burning desire to visit the Alpine peaks and valleys of Switzerland. While that journey may be far off, he is still no stranger to international travel. While visiting Japan, he was able to enjoy his favorite delicacy: Sushi and Sashimi. He also learned unexpected facts about Japanese Yen, specifically that it has special markings for the blind to know its value!

Living life by his motto to “Do good even if the world is unfair,” Dexter would also advise his younger self, “It’s hard, but you’re doing good!” Whether he’s enjoying a cup of coffee in the morning or the occasional Pale Pilsen in the evening, Dexter is eager to work with the talented professionals of YMC, and we’re just as eager to add his talent to the team as well! His marketing words of wisdom? “Be creative, and just do what you want!”

Andrew Wyche

Copywriter

Hailing from the NC state capital (that’s Raleigh if you didn’t know), Andrew is YMC’s Copywriter extraordinaire. That’s why he knows that “The verb form of ‘reconnaissance’ is ‘reconnoiter.’ The former is, strictly speaking, a noun.” Seriously, he knows his words and he’ll use those words to get bold and weird (in a good way) with his copy. Fuelled by a love for pasta, shellfish, a good single malt, or a meal consisting of all three, Andrew navigates life with a motto engraved in his heart: “Choose kindness. Always.” It is this guiding principle that has led him to explore the realm of marketing, driven by a desire to connect with people in meaningful ways. As he continues to chase his dreams, one bucket list item stands out above the rest – a pilgrimage to Scotland. With his heart set on adventure and his pen poised for creativity, Andrew’s journey is far from over.

Alex VanHaasteren

Senior Web Developer

Alex is YMC’s Senior Web Developer and, as the title suggests, she is an absolute pro! While she initially started in graphic design – working long and hard to expertly bring concepts to life – she also felt drawn to technology and applying her natural ability to problem solve. Web Development proved the perfect blend of her creative passion and technical savvy.

When Alex is out with friends – including her YMC colleagues – she’s up for Greek cuisine or some good pulled pork BBQ washed down with Diet Coke. Or an Old Fashioned, if the occasion demands. Someday, she hopes to go to Africa on a safari. Hopefully she’ll see a giraffe in the wild, because – as she’s pointed out – its neck is too short to reach the ground!

When she isn’t jamming out to T-Swift, she’s happy to impart some marketing words of wisdom, “Aim to create something unforgettable.” For day-to-day inspiration, she would remind you of two fundamental truths: You decide your happiness, and Ice cream is its own food group—not just a dessert.

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