Are You Part of the 60 or the 40?

So where did this Talent 20/20 stuff come from anyway? And “why” should every employee, leader, and business owner care…TODAY? I’ve been in the credit union (CU) space for 14+ years. I’ve seen and heard entirely too little about how CUs are developing people. Prior to a couple years ago, I never heard the words succession planning mentioned in a CU. In fact it was during a two-year hiatus from the industry that I learned what companies like Target do for their leaders and how they plan. I’ve seen more articles in credit union periodicals on the topic in recent year, which is exciting. In 2015, a Credit Union Times article by Ghosh noted that only 60% of CUs have a succession plan for their CEO. Umm…what about the other 40%?!?! And what about every other leader or critical position in the organization?!? In a 2011 study conducted on nonprofits and credit unions, it noted that only 36% even rated succession planning as important. 48% of respondents noted they wanted to hire internally for their next CEO position but only 9% had a viable candidate. Case in point.

As a young, motivated, and driven employee in CUs who wants to fill the CEO shoes some day, these statistics are dreadful. Why would an industry that was founded on serving people and members not be doing everything in their power to serve their other main stakeholder: the employees? 

I made it my mission to get to the bottom of this. I spent time this past year with CEOs of CUs with assets greater than $500 million understanding their experiences, best practices, ideas, and results surrounding the topic of succession planning (and by that I mean both planning for the future AND developing leaders to deliver the plan - it CANNOT just be one). Talent 20/20 spills their secrets and trust me, they are beyond inspiring. There is a quote by leadership experts Kouzes and Posner (2006) that says, “Today’s leaders have to be concerned about tomorrow’s world and those who will inherit it. They are the custodians of the future, and it’s their job to make sure they leave their organizations in better shape than they found them“ (p. 98). Several of the CEOs interviewed are doing exactly that!  The best part: their successes can be easily replicated if your CU cares.

So where do we start? It’s simple. Put employees and developing leaders first. Again, we ALREADY do this for members! All of the CEOs who had vibrant talent management programs in their organizations believed that developing leaders was their number one job. One of the CEOs shared, “We all have a responsibility for developing leaders. You cannot be a part of this organization unless you are doing that.” Another very motivating CEO shared, “How do you not have time for your people? The thing is with that attitude, what will happen is that your best people will leave. Our unlimited potential, proactive people can go to any credit union, any bank, any company, and deliver. The right employer will say that my god I have the right talent here, and I’ve got to develop them and treat them well and make sure they’re objectives are aligned with ours.” #love him

Talent 20/20 does introduce a new language for those not currently doing it.  Yes another change…are you not used to it yet? Sigh. It does not have to be that daunting though. What it does need is the following:

  • Leaders developing additional leaders
  • People/culture centric CEO
  • Strategic plan alignment
  • No time for excuses or egos (we need to get over ourselves!)
  • Engaged board of directors
  • At minimum planning for VPs, critical positions, and higher in the organization
  • New approach to hiring
  • Focus on innovation
  • Understanding that naming successors annually will never be enough
  • HR helping, not doing it all
  • A pool of leaders…stop expecting people to stay forever!

So WHY care? If you and your CU want to stick around, break records, and lead the industry, that is why. The CUs in the study who incorporated the Talent 20/20 strategies had 21% more asset growth and 55% more loan growth over the past five years! Anyone wanting that kind of growth? My guess is the 16 CUs in 2016 and the 21 in 2015 who faced NCUA supervisory action and closed/merged would have. Or how about those of you sitting at 60-70% loan to share? #nomoreexcuses #solutions #whoisin

Stephanie Zuleger