How Do You Create A High Performance Culture?

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Lots of people find strategy discussions the most difficult part of planning – when you get deep into the weeds, it can be hard to tell the difference between a strategy, a tactic, a mission, a goal and an objective, and where exactly is the dividing line between short-, medium- and long-term anyway?

If strategy is hard, then developing and implementing a high performance corporate culture that is aligned with your strategy and will deliver on all of its promise is like climbing Mt. Everest. Getting culture right – right for you, right for your employees, right for your members – makes a huge difference in your ability to execute to plan.

Culture and high-performing workplaces are top-of-mind this week because I came across a fascinating presentation on the role culture plays at Netflix in ‘achieving excellence’ — if you have not seen it yet I highly recommend it (available on Slideshare – download requires a free registration).

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How Does Compensation Compare for Women Credit Union Executives?

Guest post written by Chris Burns-Fazzi, Principal, Burns-Fazzi, Brock

For many industries, gender equity has been a topic of discussion.  Have you ever wondered how men and women compare as credit union executives and the compensation they receive? We did too.

The NAFCU Annual Conference coming up at the end of July in Nashvillewill feature a Women’s Leadership Summit, with a number of timely topics, including an initial look at how men and women credit union executives compare in regards to compensation and their presence in top executive positions.

A bit of background – for five years now, Burns-Fazzi, Brock (the NAFCU Services Preferred Partner for Executive Compensation and Benefits) has underwritten the annual NAFCU-BFB Survey of Federal Credit Union Executive Benefits & Compensation. Conducted by an independent firm, Clark and Chase Research, there is no cost to participate, and the results are shared with participants as well as each year at the NAFCU Annual Conference. This year, we compared the survey results by gender.

We’ll go through the analysis in much greater detail at the conference, but some highlights —

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Banking is not a place we go anymore, it’s something we do.

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Last week I had the pleasure of attending an eye-opening lecture from one of the financial services world’s most innovative thought leaders, Mr. Brett King, author of Bank 2.0, at the 2012 NAFCU CEOs and Senior Executives Conference.  It was interesting to see the reactions of a room full of credit union executives as he explained why the basic principle that many of them have built their credit unions on – that a physical branch is essential to growth and stellar service – is no longer a universal truth. Brett’s point was that computers, smart phones and the Internet have fundamentally changed the behavior of members. That is, how you take care of your financial services is becoming far more significant than where you take care of your financial services.

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Carpe Diem – Living in a Post-Durbin World

The NAFCU CEOs and Senior Executives Conference this week has featured some outstanding presentations, including noted management guru John Spence (author of “Awesomely Simple”) and financial services expert Brett King (author of Bank 2.0).  But for me one of the more meaningful presentations came from Royal Cole, Vantiv’s Financial Institution President.

Last year everyone was uncertain about the impact of the Durbin amendment and the myriad of other new financial services regulations.  Flash forward and we now have a sense of what the future landscape is going to look like, which means that credit union executives should be assessing how (or if) their strategic plans need to change to adapt to the new reality.

Royal’s presentation was focused on precisely this point – titled ‘Carpe Diem – Living in a Post-Durbin World,’ it zeroed in on the growth opportunity facing credit unions today, and more importantly what we need to do to take maximum advantage of it.

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Shifting to a Practice of Creativity and Innovation in 2012

Guest post by Deedee Myers, founder and CEO of DDJ Myers, Ltd.

Personal Reflection

As 2011 has come to a close, I am reflecting on the commitment and hard work I witnessed throughout the year. The past few years have been a struggle and challenge which produced a sense of hyper-alertness. With so many of us in a constant state of alertness, we have worked hard to sustain the health of our organizations.

The external environment is calling us to encourage and promote creativity and innovation−which is problematic, yet necessary for long-term sustainability−in a tough economic environment. Moving into the 2011 4th Quarter, I noticed an increase in the number of organizations that, in building their 2012 budgets and capital resources, shifted awareness and attention to reframe problems as productive challenges. This shift of attention is a good thing. Actively challenging our assumptions is much more sustainable than being constantly in a hyper-alert and reactive state.

Organizations that start to peel back the covers and look under the surface have so many more resources readily available. I believe the most precious resource in an organization is the individual who comes to work every day. Understanding what motivates the individual and creating an environment where each person makes a difference automatically encourages creativity and innovation−a must for us as an industry, as a country, as a global economy.

Commitment and hard work is evident in individuals, teams, and organizations that challenge established methods and protocols and actively sought ways in 2011 to modify existing models and designs. Why is this so important? It is time to shift from hyper-alertness to embodied creativity and innovation. This, I believe, is a practice we can all give more attention as we move into 2012. This practice does not need a line item in our budget; it happens in conversations involving individuals and teams.

Michael Michalko, in Tinker Toys: A Handbook of Creative-Thinking Techniques, writes that anyone can learn to pay attention. Richard Strozzi-Heckler, in The Leadership Dojo: Building Your Foundation as an Exemplary Leader writes that learning starts with awareness. An awakening that invites awareness to what is and what matters is the start of learning. I borrowed from Michalko, Strozzi-Heckler, and our custom leadership programs to provide the following simple, no cost practices you and your leadership team can activate over the next couple of weeks as preparation for moving into 2012 with a commitment to encourage creativity and innovation.

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