Why Your Internal Brand Keeps Getting Bounced

“How to score a winning organization.” “The playbook for business success.” There’s a lot of sports clichés within the corporate world.

Quite simply, we’re fans. We understand that whether it be on the football field, the soccer pitch or the baseball diamond, there’s intense competition and strategy that will lead to a winner and a loser. In the “big leagues” of banking, we know who the top challengers are, and we want to score more runs than them (see what I just did there?).

While I’m a champion for community financial institutions across the country, I’m also the athletic director at my church. I’ve coached basketball for 6th, 7th and 8th-grade boys and girls for more than 15 years. My squads include kids who were cut by school basketball teams to those who picked up a basketball for the very first time.

It truly is a hodgepodge of talent. Perhaps not so different from your credit union or community bank. And while you may be expecting a tale of hard work and perseverance, I bet you can learn a lot about your internal brand culture from a youth basketball program down in Simpsonville, S.C.

What Are You Shouting

We’ve all witnessed the coach that shouts out every misstep. “Jimmy, you missed covering your man!” “Caroline, how many times have we gone over double dribble?!” Now, you’re probably thinking how embarrassing it is for the child in question, but what about the rest of the team? The coach is trying to motivate out of fear. With mistakes as his focus, he is inserting doubt into the team. Players who are doing a great job start to question not just their teammates, but their own abilities.

This is why I get down on the child’s level and address mistakes one-on-one. Meanwhile, when a player does something great, I get very loud. And let me tell you, when a starter sees a player off the bench getting praise, they take their game to the next level.

Are you celebrating your wins or highlighting your losses within your credit union or community bank? In sports, it’s the difference between a healthy and unhealthy locker room. What do your employees have to get excited about?

Your employer brand – your financial institution’s reputation as an employer – describes your value proposition to your employees. If you are plagued by a CEO talent shortage, MSR/FSR turnover or call center attrition, it can often be linked to your team’s inability to reinforce and celebrate success.

Identifying the Big Three

One of the biggest problems I see with other coaches is every practice becomes a scrimmage. They don’t drill down to the most urgent and important areas that will take them to the next level. With my junior high-aged squads, we identify our Big Three at every practice – the three things we must perfect in preparation for our next game.

Also, once a game is complete, we don’t just go home after we’ve shaken the hands of our opponents. We huddle up in the corner of the gym to go over what went well, and what will be our next Big Three at the next practice.

How do you and your team finish the day? Chances are, you have a million tasks, but only a few are truly urgent and important to your credit union or community bank. Narrow your list and be focused and intentional with your work. Note well: It’s in our human nature to want to feel a level of achievement. A common trap is to turn our focus on answering emails and performing simple tasks, allowing us to neglect the biggest opportunities for our business.

Set and stick with your Big Three every day.

Taking Action Takes Trust

Like most church leagues, we hold hands with our opponents and pray before the game begins (I’m not suggesting you have to do that with Wells Fargo). However, before we take to the court, we have a pregame ritual that includes our own warm up outside and our own team prayer. I often conclude the prayer with, “Have faith in yourself, have faith in your teammates and have faith in God.”

Here’s the truth: During the game, there are five players on the court operating as a single unit. No one person is more important than the other. We must have trust in one another in order to persevere. And if we don’t trust and love ourselves, how can we trust and love our teammate?

If you don’t trust the direction your bank or credit union is heading, what can be done to bring alignment, engagement and support within your organization? If you don’t believe in your brand or the products and services you are offering, what solutions are at your disposal? If your team doesn’t trust you or you don’t trust your team, is it time for someone(s) to move on?

On my team, those who ignore or refuse trust and accountability don’t make my bench.

What about your team?

Flip the Switch: Develop a Brand Attitude for Your Financial Institution
For many credit unions and community banks, branding has been put on the backburner. Loans may even be up, but market share is down, and you are just now mustering up the courage to admit you’re stuck. Download this FREE teal paper. Now is finally the right time to set a clear and direct path to take action with your brand.

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