Culture = Cultivating Die-hard Fans

We’ve all seen them around on game days. They are decked out from head-to-toe in team colors and garb. They may have a tattoo of the team logo on their arm or leg. Their family pet or even first-born child is named after the coach or team mascot. They are season ticket holders, regardless of where the team ranks preseason. I’m not talking about credit union members…not yet anyway.

Die-hard fans. Creating an organizational culture is about cultivating your existing relationships with members and turning them into die-hard fans of your credit union. Moreover, it is equally as important to foster an internal culture – creating a compelling context within which employees can work and thrive, and members can feel really good about how their financial lives are being managed. 

We all want our members and employees to be such die-hard fans of the credit union that they tell anyone and everyone about how much they love your credit union. However, your staff needs to have that die-hard team spirit first, or members are not going to follow suit.

As a die-hard Kentucky Wildcats basketball fan, I can tell you that the feeling I get when I go to Rupp Arena to see a game is unparalleled by any other experience. However, that experience is not accidental. Kentucky has created a compelling context within which that rabid, passionate culture can grow and thrive. They’ve been very intentional about building a specific and identifiable culture. 

But it isn’t just being there that makes the experience special. Just like word-of-mouth is the best form of marketing for your credit union, sharing the experience of watching a UK basketball game with my dad - and thousands of other screaming fans - is what it is all about. No amount of money spent on marketing campaigns is going to garner that type of return or experience. 

We need to ignite the passion within our members and employees. As our core values state, we want them to be passionate about their credit union, their work, and the credit union movement. Companies like Starbucks, Apple, Cadillac, Zappos, and many others have done that very thing within their respective industries and they stand out in the marketplace because of it. That passion begins with culture. 

Cul-ture [kuhl-cher] noun: the attitudes and behavior that are characteristic of a particular social group or organization. 

Over the next several weeks, we are going to have a discussion about developing an organizational culture, which ultimately drives the achievement of your credit union’s strategic goals.

So let’s explore the first element of my project - Culture Standards - and how they are a blueprint for cultivating those die-hard and passionate fans. 

Members First Credit Union’s Culture Standards include:

  • Our Vision – “To be the ultimate financial services provider delivering the best experience to our members.”
  • Our Core Values 
  • Members First Brand Expectations (written from survey results within our membership and staff surveys – what they can expect from the Members First brand)
  • Member Expectations (what members can expect from Members First)
  • Employee Expectations (what we expect from employees of the credit union)
  • Specific (re-written) Job Descriptions for each employee
  • Member Bill of Rights (based on what our members told us about what financial freedom means to them at the credit union)

While Culture Standards aren’t going to directly create die-hard fans of your members, they will make die-hard fans out of your employees, which is a vital first step in developing your credit union’s organizational culture. In one of my next blog posts, I will talk specifically about the ways in which we have cultivated our internal culture with the staff and show examples of their “die-hard” fan spirit.

Until next time…GO CATS!