5 Steps to Making your Culture Real

We’ve all heard the nightmare stories of a business’s reputation being damaged by significant cultural attributes failures.

Maybe the failure is with their values. Significant companies have faced huge fines, and executives have gone to jail for not living up to their published values. These companies include Wells Fargo, Volkswagen, General Motors, Purdue Pharmaceuticals, and on and on and on. Just publishing and posting the corporate values has proven unsuccessful.

Maybe the failure is with their mission statement. Most mission statements we see are very aspirational and high-minded. They include comments like, “We are in business to improve the lives of our customers,” or “Our mission is to make the lives of our members and employees better.” How often do we see these same companies being unresponsive to us as we struggle with a product or its delivery, just giving us “lip service” but no real solutions? Alternatively, how often do these same companies quickly and aggressively turn customers that are struggling financially over to a third-party collection agency without trying to find an amicable workout solution?

What can a credit union do to avoid these too common pitfalls in their culture?

  1. Critically review the validity of the company’s mission, values, and purpose. These are not just nice-sounding words but words that align with the business model, the member engagement strategy, the service delivery strategy, the conversation with members and other employees model, the leadership model, and the Vision of what and who the credit union wants to be in the future.
  2. Build a communication and training strategy that will tell the credit union and their members who you are and teach the employees how to live by these values, mission, and purpose.
  3. Design a methodology to use values, mission, and purpose behaviors as critical elements of the organization’s performance reviews.
  4. Design a methodology for staffing that includes a review of the employee candidate’s ability and willingness to live and behave by the organization’s values.
  5. As part of the selection process for promotions, carefully review how this employee has behaved within the published value set.

Too often, employees get hired and promoted due to job performance without consideration for how they behave with fellow employees or members. This practice creates a toxic environment and does harm to the culture.

A Cultural Audit is a process that allows an objective third party to come in to take the credit union through this process. If you would like to understand this better, contact me at rich@l2ldev.flywheelsites.com.

About rich@leading2leadership.com

Rich Jones is the Founder/Principal of Leading2Leadership LLC. Before starting his strategic planning agency, he spent over 20 years in leadership roles in the financial services sector. Before becoming an executive in the financial services sector, Rich was an entrepreneur, building and selling two businesses and working for early-stage start-up companies in executive roles in marketing, business development, and seeking investment partners. With more than three decades of experience, he brings innovative thought to companies and executives. Rich published “Leading2Leadership, a Situational Primer to Leadership Excellence.” The book is available on Amazon.com and was designed to be used as a book study for leadership development programs; it breaks leadership skills into manageable situations for discussion and reflection. Rich works with credit unions, CUSOs, and vendors, designing digital, data, culture, marketing, and branding transformation strategies. In 2014, Chosen as a Credit Union Rock Star by CU Magazine, and in 2018, Rich received the Lifetime Achievement Award from CUNA Marketing and Business Development Council. A Marine and graduate of Colorado State University, Jones shares his expertise at www.leading2leadership.com.

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