Working at a credit union can be rewarding at any level. You become part of a family, work to solve and meet the financial needs/issues of your members, and make a nice living, too. Ultimately, you can move into upper management and eventually become CEO. If C-level credit union management is your career goal, here are some things you need to consider.
1 Commitment to the Organization. This is essential. Look at any solid credit union CEO and you will find a strong commitment to his/her credit union. C-level management is responsible for upholding and promoting the core values and mission of the credit union. If advancement is your goal, get familiar with the mission, field of membership, and core values of your credit union. Then, purposefully commit to them in everything you do.
2 Strong Networking Skills. If you want to operate and maintain a successful credit union, networking is a must. Start attending conferences now. Find those in your industry and a few that would personally benefit you. The connections you make today will propel you forward in the future. You never know when someone in your circle will be promoted. That could yield huge dividends for you, as he or she could be the person who puts in a good word for you with the boss. Don’t forget to support the credit union’s charity affiliations.
3 Surround Yourself with Successful People. A story about Mark Victor Hanson illustrates this one best. If you are unaware, he co-authored the best-selling Chicken Soup for the Soul At one of his events, he ran into Tony Robbins in an elevator. Mark told him he knew for a fact he was going to do over $1 million in sales that year, while he Tony would do millions. Mark asked Tony how he should make the leap from millions to billions. Tony’s reply is classic. Tony asked Mark who was in his inner circle. Mark replied they were all millionaires. Tony told him that was his problem. He needed to start running with billionaires. They think differently. You can find the full story in the One Minute Millionaire book. If you want to advance, make sure you have people more successful than you in your credit union circle.
4 Strong Work Ethic. Here is one trait that will help define your career more than any other. Get to work early. Stay late. Volunteer when no one wants the task. If you just groaned at the thought of those ideas, you may not be C-level material. Strong work ethics are part of a CEO’s strengths. Top CEOs often wake up before 5:00 a.m. and work past dinner. They consider it part of the job. If you want to reach that level of leadership, be prepared for longer days.
5 Great PR Skills. While it’s true you probably have a marketing team at your credit union, you are still considered to be the organization’s main PR person. You may need to take some extra college classes or online courses that will help you with PR. You will be regarded as the main link between your credit union and the community, even though your staff will often shoulder the load. Great PR skills will take you far. Spend some extra time and money on developing them for yourself. Great C-level managers always possess incredible PR skills.
6 Working Knowledge of All Systems. Being the CEO or CFO will require you to be intimately familiar with everything your credit union offers. As a result, you will also need to familiarize yourself with the processes behind those offerings. For instance, are your forms and disclosures up to date? Do you even know who your forms provider is? If you are an Oak Tree customer, you do. We work hard to develop relationships with our customers and provide custom compliant forms and disclosures. C-level managers will be familiar with all of these, such as data linking services.
Your credit union management goals can be achieved with the right set of skills and effort. Put these six tips to work for you now, so you will be ahead of the game later. As for your forms and disclosures, no problem. We have you covered. This is one area you won’t have to worry about during your meteoric rise to credit union CEO status. Should you need help once you get there, however, we are just a phone call away at (800) 537-9598, or chat with us at www.oaktreebiz.com.