Lessons from CEO Institute I

Wow! I have so many great things I could say about the experience at Wharton. It certainly met all of my expectations. CUES should be commended for a job well done in putting together such a fine program for credit union executives. The CEO Institute I focused primarily on strategy. It challenged our thinking, and our ability to have peripheral vision in order to prepare for things that may impact our industry both now and in the future. The concept of scenario planning was an eye opener, and certainly a method that all credit unions should be using when developing strategic plans.

I enjoyed having the opportunity to re-connect with several of the NTCUE contestants. Tina Hall (Queen of Awesome!), Amy Stanton, and Jodi Chambers all attended the conference. We were eager to learn more, and I believe we all walked away with an increased passion for our industry, and a larger scope of what challenges are to be expected as future CEO’s. We also had the opportunity to connect with many other great executives from around the country. Making those connections were an invaluable part of the trip.

Here are some key takeaways from this experience. I managed to develop a few cheesy quotes that you may gain something from.☺

1) Nothing in the future is certain, but planning for uncertainties can make it a lot easier.

This revelation is quite simple. No one knows what tomorrow holds, but if we plan for all of its possibilities, it can be a lot easier to approach. Living without a plan is actually more frustrating and chaotic in the long run.

2) The moment you compromise your values, you become someone you once said you didn’t want to be.

This epiphany came to me in our session on ethics. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this session. We talked about the many different ways we view things. A portion of the class was consequentialists, who felt that the ends justified the means, while others were character and action driven. I was the latter of the two. The professor asked me a question during his lecture on whether or not the ends justified the means, and my response was no. He then gave a scenario that is too lengthy to type, but in short I stood on what I believed. Some thought it was the wrong perspective, while others agreed. At the end of the session, I felt good because I knew that I stayed consistent with my value system. Anything contrary to that would have compromised who I really am. So, we should all remain true to ourselves.

3) Think outside the box.

I loved the dialogue around this topic, because so many times we limit our thinking on the possibilities of what our industry could be. We frame our thinking capacity around what we’ve seen or experienced. Those experiences at times hinder the forward thinking process. If we could put that aside for a moment, and not be afraid to challenge our thought process, we could make our industry so much better.

4) Last but not least, I learned that great leaders are willing to take risk.

This was a topic I blogged on before, but something we forget about as an industry at times. Sometimes playing it safe can be much more detrimental to longevity than being willing to take a risk. Yes, we will fail, but failure is ok if we learn from it, and grow. Let’s stop being so scared to fail, and become more willing to step out and stand up for what we believe in.

There is so much more that I could write about. It would probably be a short novel, but I’ll leave you with one thought. The future of our industry is as bright as the work and thought we put forward today.