You are what you can’t let go of

Ask any new client of YMC, and they’ll compare us to a four-year-old.

‘Why?’ is our favorite question to ask of new clients when we’re evaluating what they’ve been doing.

Often there’s a very good reason. But, more often than not, there’s a blank stare and the typical response of: “That’s just the way we’ve always done it.”

It reminds me of the old tale about a man who is watching his wife make pot roast for dinner. As he’s watching, his wife prepares the meat and then just before she puts it into the pot for roasting, she cuts off both ends of the meat. The husband has never noticed this before, so he asks, “Why do you cut off the ends of the meat before you put it in the roasting pan?” She thinks about it and replies, “Because that’s the way my mother did it.”

Still confused, he asks the logical question, “But why did she cut off the ends?” Now both the wife and husband are very curious as to why, so they call Mom and ask her about cutting off the ends prior to putting the roast into the pan. Her answer is, “Because that’s the way Nana did it.”

Realizing that they are not going to get any farther with Mom, they decide to go directly to the source, so they call Nana. “Nana,” the wife asks, “why is it that when you make pot roast, you cut off the ends of the meat before you put it in the roasting pan?”

Nana answers without hesitation, “Because that’s the only way it will fit in my pot.”

Perhaps you’ve seen these wise words printed on the side of a Starbucks cup at one time or another: “It’s difficult for people to get rid of junk. They get attached to things and let them define who they are. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in this business, it’s that you are what you can’t let go of.”

As summer approaches, review your 2021 marketing plan and start asking, “Why is this included in the marketing plan?” Is there a good reason, or does your answer sound something like that’s just the way we’ve always done it? Does it apply to one of your strategic goals for the credit union? Does it have a positive ROI? Does it help educate your ideal member and drive trust and recognition among them?

It may be time to let go of some old habits and try out new ideas! If that very thought gives you some heartburn, but you know it’s necessary, our team can help.

For more than a decade YMC has partnered with strategically focused credit unions to help them grow by bringing clarity, breaking down barriers through our unique time-tested strategic outsourced marketing program and strategic planning events. We’ll help you sort through the way you’ve always done things and bring fresh ideas that will help you meet your goals.

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

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