I really enjoy reading leadership books! Why? I don't really know. Does chapter 1 ever really change? Of course it has some new fancy swing on an old concept, but quit simply we all know that if we choose to create a change then we must be willing to set the example and model the behaviors that we hope to see in our team. If we choose to have a team of employees who care about the initiatives of the credit union, then leadership of the credit union must care for their employees. When you think about it, it is organically simple, free of fluff or filling, it's about being what you hope to see in the world around you. Business and life draw many close comparisons and modeling the behavior is one I find true regardless of the scenario. I'm going to split up the next two blog posts into 1A and 1B, so I can give appropriate time with each subject, both will be focused on modeling behaviors the first on fiscal fitness the second on physical fitness.
As well meaning as financial education initiatives are if we fail to educate our own first then we have missed the first step in helping develop a culture that cares about the members they serve.
I like to say that we have internal members and external members. I would dare to say that 99% of our employees are also members of the credit union meaning they should have every available benefit that our external members have the ability to be a part of. When I was first hired by TFCU I found one major hole in our financial education initiatives, they were all externally focused! While this may be excellent for marketing dollars to be spent on assisting the communities we serve, we drastically missed the most important part. If we wanted our external members to be financially successful then we must first start by educating our own teams so that they could serve as financial counselors to those who sought their advice daily. Our team not only needed to know about the programs we offered but needed to have seen them in action and used them as tools to help themselves personally.
As a new manager with TFCU one of my first priorities was to educate my team to a financial education level that was above what our external members were receiving. My efforts were simple, cheap and effective. I simply tapped into TFCU's greatest resource, our people. Our team was put through all TFCU financial education courses, and has continued to receive education in areas such as retirement planning and college savings. I'm very proud to say that to this day all of my team and soon all employees of TFCU will have successfully completed financial education. It has been such a success that is now seen as an important aspect of our training programs and is being implemented for all new employees to go through a financial education program during the first 6 months of their hiring. Why was all of this so important? It's Chapter 1 model the behavior!