Who will take your credit union to the next level?

In today’s world of constant, fast-paced change, it’s becoming increasingly harder to keep up.  With a large number of the baby-boomers preparing to retire, what is your credit union doing to prepare the up-and-coming leaders of tomorrow to take over the reins? Who will take your credit union to the next level? What are you doing now to develop them to be ready for the future? 

My Answer

Synergy Emerging Leaders (SEL) is a cross-organizational committee made up of leaders and potential leaders striving for success. SEL was developed by like-minded individuals from within our organization to foster personal development and create opportunities through networking with others, encouraging ideas and sharing experiences with one another.

Over the past two years, we identified the need to restructure and grow our program to create organization-wide engagement with an emphasis on promoting talent development from within. Today, we have over 60 committee members who are dedicated to developing their leadership attributes through their own personal development activities as well as working together.

The purpose of Synergy Credit Union’s Emerging Leaders program is to:

  • Develop and mentor emerging leaders through involvement in the committee.
  • Determine what emerging leaders are looking for in the areas of leadership development, career development and mentorship.
  • Empower emerging leaders to grow and prosper in and for Synergy Credit Union, through attraction, retention, and development
  • Enhance networking opportunities among emerging leaders 
  • And, most importantly, to HAVE FUN!

The committee has identified 3 key initiatives:

  • Focus on Financial Literacy
  • Recruitment
  • Employee Engagement

With these goals in mind, a small group of our emerging leaders came together last summer and designed a fun, interactive financial literacy program called Rock Your Money-Like a Rockstar! The program was created with a hands-on approach to teaching financial literacy to youth, in a “choose your own adventure” style of experience. Rock Your Money has been delivered to numerous youth groups in our community, as well as at the Saskatchewan Student Leadership Conference in September 2013.

Recently, we hosted an exciting leadership building and networking event called “Speed Careering,” wherein 6 of Synergy’s Executive Managers and Board of Directors were given 10 minutes to personally present on various topics. Some of the topics included: Work for Passion, the Value of Behavioral and Technical competency, Finding Your Niche in Any Career and the Stepping Stones to Success.

Recognition and Celebration

In an effort to recognize and reward committee members who expend significant time and efforts throughout the year, we implemented a recognition program called, ACTION 15. These 15 dedicated committee members receive specialized recognition via SEL branded attire for their contributions in achieving our goals. 

 “Leadership is an Action; not a Position” – Donald McGannon

Leadership is not about the title one holds; but rather about the actions we take to help others succeed. Emerging leaders, need to look for and undertake initiatives that place them in a position where they can make the greatest contributions to the members, their communities and the credit union as a whole. 

As the Chair of SEL, I observed we were starting to deviate from our mandate and a number of our engaged committee members were burning out. I sought advice from my executive management team on how to refocus and re-energize the committee. With their support, I brought the committee back together and empowered them to bring their ideas and initiatives to fruition. 

Value Proposition for myself and others

My involvement as a leader has allowed my confidence to grow, as well as greatly expand my networking opportunities, not only with our executive management team, but also on the provincial and national credit union system level. I have the unique opportunity to demonstrate my skills and abilities, while promoting the passion I have for working with and developing our emerging leaders. Further, I have gained the courage to jump out of my comfort zone and think on a strategic level in order to plan and coordinate how we will achieve our goals.  

This opportunity has given myself and others involved, the experience to: Communicate our mission - Model by example - Mentor our people - Mold the team - Measure performance and results - Motivate for success; so that if/when I become an executive manager, these skillsets will be second nature.

I believe the SEL program is a tool every credit union can use to inspire and motivate your emerging leaders in order to become innovative, resilient and adaptive leaders of your future.