The top 15 are writing their blogs this weekend, and here is a quick peek at the judges’ perspective. Some contestants say that they have so many thoughts and are unsure how to construct them into a few short pages, 750 words or so. Read below for helpful hints and ideas!
Write out what you have without self-editing. Step back and take a look at your flow, content, and how a judge may develop a certain perspective from what you wrote. The final product needs to be a balance of your own personal voice in a narrative blended with tangible, cogent thoughts that compel your reader to move forward and become engaged in your idea.
Judges assess your project based upon the value it creates in support of the overall credit union strategy. Years ago, I borrowed a couple of acronyms from unknown sources that help me in developing ideas into reality. The first one is SUCCESS:
Scale of economy: How does your project increase the capacity of the credit union to expand or create a product or service without increasing net expenses?
Uniqueness: What is unique about your product, service, or movement that is not already provided by another organization?
Culture: How will you positively shift the culture (of a community, organization, etc.)?
Channels of distribution: What are the various channels used to distribute this product or service? How does this channel add value to the member?
Externalities: How will you improve the external environment, such as the underserved population, youth, young adults, retirees, lobbying government, investing in industry associations, etc.?
Segmentation and differentiation: What is the value proposition, segmentation, or differentiation of your product or service from others that are similar?
Skill set: How will launching or improving this product or service leverage and/or evolve your current competency and skill set or those of your peers? What new core competencies will be developed as a result? You can include the external environment, too—for example, improving financial literacy in youth.
Another acronym you might have heard of is SMART. In your objective statement, look for these five pieces. And, by the way, your objective statement should be right up front, in one of the first couple of sentences or the first paragraph, and definitely be connected to your organization’s strategic objective.
After you’ve written your blog, go back and review to see if you can easily pick out these four items.
- The business reasons for the project/service/product
- Where the value will come from
- An obvious strategic link
- An obvious personal voice - your interest and passion
Enjoy the thought process and the writing. When you're done writing, reflect on what you learned about yourself and what new information these formulas helped surface.
I look forward to reading your blogs next week!