Taking Ownership as Leaders to Avoid Credit Union Merger

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A person pointing to a merging line with an X over it.

Several weeks ago, the country sat down collectively to watch the Super Bowl.

During the game, I reflected back on Super Bowl XLIX in 2015 between the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots. It was during that Super Bowl, with only 26 seconds left in the game, The Seahawks had the ball at the New England Patriots’ one-yard line. Instead of handing the ball to their running back Marshawn Lynch (one of the best running back in the NFL at the time), Carroll called a passing play on second down. It was gutsy, but The Patriots ended up intercepting the ball and won the game.

The headlines the next day called it “the worst play call in NFL history,” the “dumbest call in Super Bowl history,” and a “terrible Super Bowl mistake.” Of course, Carroll disagreed with these statements, believing it was the right call based on the numbers and his experience. Regardless of what Carroll said, you can’t dispute that the play did not work. 

There’s a lesson here for credit union leaders in what Carroll did next and how he responded to the brutal media onslaught of comments. He owned it. He owned the mistake. “I told those guys, ‘That’s my fault, totally,’” Carroll said after the game. And later, when given the chance to pass off some of the blame to his offensive coordinator, Carroll refused, saying, “I made the decision.”

As I was reading Frank Diekmann’s recent rundown of credit union merger activity, highlighting reasons for merger, I realized that these credit union leaders are not Pete Carroll. One example was a credit union citing “a challenge to find a replacement (CEO)…” There is a multitude of next-generation leaders coming up that are willing and ready to step up and serve. It is indeed a challenge when you make excuses to not try and want to offer compensation equivalent to working the fry line at a fast food establishment.

I’ve recently heard COVID as an excuse for being unable to compete. COVID is not to blame. Leadership is to blame for not stepping up and leading the credit union through necessary changes during COVID.

There are thousands of other credit unions prospering right now that have had to deal with the same issues during COVID and led through it. There are plenty of credit unions conducting succession planning and filling leadership roles to ensure the credit union can serve the next generation of members.

None of it is easy work, but that’s what leaders do. They make the best decision they can with the information they have and push through the fear and often late days working. When it comes to challenges, do we own them or run from them?

It is what it is, but what counts is what you do next and how your decisions impact the next generation of credit union leaders – and most importantly credit union members.

When you’ve decided you won’t throw in the towel on your credit union, look Your Marketing Co. up.

Ready to ensure the success of your credit union?

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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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