Sometimes You Just Have to Swing the Bat

Sometimes you just have to swing the bat. This was a phrase my old boss would say. This was just one of many that were just as amusing, give or take a laugh or two.

Procrastination. I am famous for it. I actually don’t think many people know this about me. Now, you all know.

I am rarely late with an assignment. I rarely miss a deadline. I cringe at the thought of having to say “’Can I take an extra day?” I roll my eyes at my children when they say “I’ll do it after I finish this YouTube video I am making” or something else that is obviously much more important than whatever I am asking them to do. But, when it comes to writing something that is supposed to be inspirational or insightful or thought-provoking, I have an issue. It is like writer’s block comes over me, and for those of you that do know me, I am really never at a loss for words.

The problem is my focus. I know my topic. I know what I am trying to say. I know the point I want to make. What I don’t know is my first sentence. I need it. It’s like a strong cup of morning coffee for my blank Word page. And so, I wait. I run it through my head. In the shower. As I am stirring my coffee or yes even pouring my evening cocktail. The moment of awakening always comes. It hits me in the first sentence. I grab it and, I’m off and running and can jam out hundreds of words easily. But, as my previous president used to say, swing the bat.

He is right – as much as I really, really don’t want to admit it. Sometimes you do just have to swing the bat.

Swinging the bat, taking the chance, throwing our hands up and TRYING, that is what should happen. Sometimes, and maybe all too often, we wait until things are perfected before moving forward. This is true in the Land of Credit Unions that I love. We wait, we analyze, we have meetings, we call in consultants, we have more meetings, bring it to the board, get staff input, run some more projections, discuss again….weeks pass, months go by and opportunities are lost.

Opportunities. It’s a positive thought.

Missed opportunities, however, are not.

Missed opportunities may lead to slow loan growth or slow membership growth; vital elements of things we need to not only survive as a credit union but thrive as one. The things we need to grow to continue to serve our membership the way we should. Swing the bat. Take the chance. Try something new.

Something new??? What? In CU Land? Yep.

Something new could be a product launch or an automation path (my personal favorite thing to try). Perhaps a new campaign or something as simple as asking branch managers to post on your social media platforms. Or…what if you marketed the skip-a-pay program year-round to drive non-interest income instead of just in the summer or around the holidays? Look for your opportunities. They are pretty easy to find – pull some penetration reports, see where you have low-hanging fruit. How many checking accounts have debit cards that are inactive? Or have no debit card at all? Check out an ACH report or a bill-pay report, see what types of vendors your members are sending money to – outside financial intuitions? What’s your single service member number? Are there ways to move that? Maybe look for ways for automation to reduce operating expenses, increase employee efficiencies. The opportunities (taken and missed) are endless!

Too often we are quick to say it’s always been this way or that’s the way or our members expect this. Innovation, growth, evolution. Those things come from swinging the bat. You can’t expect numbers to move, ratios to improve, or member behavior to change if you don’t change or try something new. If “it’s always been….” isn’t making the needle move, then do something.

Q3 is here. Planning session time is approaching. Mid-year marks. Six months left to achieve your Balance Scorecard numbers. 24 weeks (or so) to make a move on those actions steps you agreed upon together as a leadership team late last year. It’s your time to swing the bat.

So swing batter batter swing.

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