Taking Ownership as Leaders to Avoid Credit Union Merger

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?

From strat plans to rebrands, YMC President and CEO, Bo, is passionate about helping financial institutions come up with a winning formula. If you’re ready to go beyond the SWOT, you can email him at bo@yourmarketingco.com.

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