Kelly and I recently facilitated an all-employee training day for a credit union. The employees were enthusiastic, open-minded and willing to take risks (as it’s always a risk when we take the stage!). The following day, we met with their executive team to conduct a needs analysis: uncover whether or not they could benefit from our expertise and if the partnership would be a good fit.
We discovered in the first 20 minutes the reason this would not be a match made in heaven…or even made on one of those dating websites. One simple, yet disturbing reason: the CEO referred to some of his members as “deadbeats”. He was referring to those consumers who were unable to repay their loans.
This CEO is a leader in position only. His callous attitude toward human beings struggling to get by was unnerving and devoid of compassion. If the membership of his credit union (in good standing or otherwise) were to hear his degrading comments, I’m sure they’d seek another place to entrust their finances.
And so you don’t get the wrong idea about credit unions in these distressing financial times, let me be clear: most credit unions have leadership that is inspirational; they protect their membership as they would their own family. They operate their organization in the best interest of their members, employees and communities. It’s a wonderful life when leaders look out for the best interest of their organization and their consumers! Most leaders of the credit union industry have the characteristics of George Bailey and NOT Mr. Potter.
Leadership is not about judging, mocking or demeaning those you serve.
Leadership is about: integrity, compassion, humility, accountability, service, ethics, community, courage to do the right thing, responsibility and trust.
We chose not to work with this particular CEO and his credit union. We lost significant income as a result. What would you have done?
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