The Pandemic of Nice is Not Working Out

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I’ve had a recurring theme in conversations with credit union leaders this year. “Bo, I just don’t know if all my staff is on board. I don’t know if they are a good fit to take us to the next level, where we’re going.”

OUCH!

That is a touchy conversation. But the fact that these credit union leaders recognize the problem is a great first step. Perhaps you’re thinking the same thing but afraid to verbalize it to your team or board. Perhaps deep down you’re really frustrated but refuse to bring it up to avoid tough conversations.

As a credit union leader, it can be easy to make excuses and trick yourself into thinking that allowing underperforming and unengaged employees to stay on your team is the kind and generous thing to do. “Well, Sally has been here 23 years…”

It’s not.

It doesn’t help your credit union, your members nor the rest of your credit union team. In fact, I’ll share with you the tough words one mentor had for me on this subject: It’s selfish.

Just because you hate having tough conversations, doesn’t mean the entire rest of your organization, members and your mission should suffer. Here are some outcomes I have personally experienced because of this very scenario, and what I have observed from other credit unions:

1. Good team members become toxic. Your culture is defined by the worst behavior you are willing to tolerate. “Why should I work my ass off and give 110% when Sally is as productive as a Ficus tree?” You start to either lose productivity from good team members, or they go somewhere else that has a team of high performers to match their energy. Opposite that, when team members see that good work is rewarded and bad work has no place, they’ll know that they’re at an organization that’s worth staying at. It’s easy to think that firing an employee puts other employees on edge. More often, it sends a signal to the good employees that you’re on their side and don’t want them to spend time compensating for underperformers.


2. You’re holding that person back. Keeping someone on your team that isn’t a good fit isn’t just holding your credit union, but also, it’s holding that person back. There’s a good chance that person is very unhappy and is as afraid to make that decision as you are. There’s only so many working years someone has ahead of them.


3. You and your team begin to think differently. There is not one person that has been fired from my organization because I woke up one day in a bad mood. I always use the word CHOOSE. If you have updated and specific job descriptions (we call them KRAs or Key Result Areas), expectations for work and what success looks like will be clear. If you have an underperforming team member, first look to yourself and ask some tough questions. Are your expectations not clear? Have you failed to provide training or tools to make them successful? If you get past those questions, you turn your questions toward the underperforming team member. “Why are you choosing not to do the work?” This question allows you to not be the bad guy but focus specifically on the choice the team member is making to not do the work to achieve the desired results.


4. You’re wasting time. You have good team members who are craving your time and attention to grow and prosper in their position and become a better asset to your team. Instead, you are spending time having the same conversations with the same underperforming team members. You waste time on conversations with no outcomes and headspace in the “what if” scenarios that you have no intention of acting on.

Let me give some clearly defined solutions if you find yourself in this place right now:
1. Update your job descriptions. Make sure expectations of both task and outcome are clearly defined so there is no wiggle room when review time comes around.
2. Speak up. Don’t avoid tough conversations. When a team member at your credit union is not living up to their potential and dragging the team down, talk about it. Identify the problem and what the desired behavior is and give a timeframe for when the performance should turn around.
3. Hold your leadership team accountable. Sometimes it’s not a team member issue, it’s a leadership issue.

 

What does all of this have to do with credit union marketing? Marketing is a team sport, and if you are spending money on marketing and bewildered as to why no matter what you try you just can’t find success, it may be a cultural issue that needs to be dealt with. Leads may be coming in for new loans and new members but lost to a poor first experience with your credit union because of an underperforming on disengaged team member. That’s a lot of credit union marketing dollars wasted!


Every member experience can either build or kill your credit union’s brand and negate your marketing. Ready to discuss real change for success? Let’s talk!

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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!

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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