Cornell Conclusion: The Big 3 from the Big Red


In most of the training sessions that I provide as part of my role as a corporate trainer at Servus Credit Union, I think back to the days when I was on the other side of the desk at the student.

Most training days are filled with an incredible amount of useful knowledge, but it is extremely hard to remember it all. My rule of thumb is to try to take away a couple of key items that you think you can implement to better support yourself or support the success of your team.

As my experience at Cornell comes to a close (still have the post assignment to do!) I would like to share with you my Big 3 takeaway items, as well as plans for implementation, from the Big Red.

  1. Rewarding Right Decisions Because of Good Process, Even with Poor Results: This one really made me think. Most of the time we reward based on results, and not so much our decision making process or actions. We have to remember that we can’t control everything. Sometimes luck just isn’t on our side. I would like to take greater time to ensure that I have a sound decision making process and relying less on my intuition. By having the right process, I will be more comfortable if I am not getting the results I am looking for, but know I made the right choice.
  2. Expand My Social Capital: Discussed it Day 5, it was quite apparent that most of my connections come from the credit union industry. While this is good for collaborating within the credit union system, perhaps there is additional opportunity to look outside of my world to bring new innovation to Servus.

    Over the next 12 months, I would like to expand my network within a few areas:

    A. Fort Saskatchewan – Being new to the community and not actually working within it (I work in Edmonton), it’s been a bit harder to get to meet people.  With that being said, as I continue to coach my son’s hockey and lacrosse teams, I will start building new relationships and new connections with the community.

    B. Junior Achievement – When I was in business banking, my schedule allowed for me to participate more with this program.  Once my schedule allows for it, I plan to again get more involved with teaching financial literacy to students of Edmonton, which will also allow me to connect with teachers, principals, as well as various business leaders within the City of Edmonton and its surrounding community.

    C. Junior Chamber International Edmonton ( – Stumbled upon these guys when someone retweeted one of their posts in my Twitter feed.  

    Here is the description of who they are: JCI Edmonton is the premiere personal and professional development organization for young leaders in our great city. 

    Connecting with young leaders outside of credit unions and developing self at the same time…..I’m in heaven.

  3. The Strength of Culture: If you haven’t heard the Zappos story on culture, you really need to check it out. They have 5 weeks of onboarding. Create fun and a little weirdness is one of their corporate values. They hire and fire based on those values. Their culture has everyone working and thinking together.

This is the business challenge that I would like to focus my final assignment on. How can credit union’s maintain a high enough level of professionalism when dealing with people’s money, but still bring in a little bit of weirdness in to create a strong culture which will ultimately lead to greater member value?

Looking forward to the challenge.


P.S. In case you were wondering, I didn’t have to swim to graduate from Cornell, but I did Kaoroke for the first time.  

We’ll leave it at that.