Impact And Purpose Should Define Credit Unions

To lead with purpose, credit unions must adopt a multi-stakeholder model, which includes their associates, members, and communities.

Thousands of credit union professionals flocked to Washington, DC, for CUNA’s 2022 Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC) 2022. It was a moment for the credit union industry to reflect upon the trials and tribulations cooperatives have experienced across the past 24 months.

What lessons did the pandemic teach us and how should we use those lessons to impact the industry moving forward? These were issues I spoke about in myinterview with CU Broadcast.

Katy Slater talks with Mike Lawson of CUbroadcast during the GAC to talk about purpose and impact. Click here to watch.

The pandemic gave leaders a new lens to approach their business, and it has been far from the business as usual lens. Across the past 24 months, credit unions demonstrated an ability to deliver products and services in innovative ways, confirmed that the quality of work outweighs where work gets done, and proved that showing up with empathy for employees and members builds unparalleled emotional connections. I encourage all credit union leaders to reflect on these pandemic learnings and leverage them to develop a sustainable strategic approach, rooted in purpose, to grow their cooperatives.

To lead with purpose, credit unions must adopt a multi-stakeholder model, which includes associates, members, and communities. Research shows organizations that lead with purpose have an easier time attracting and retaining talent, have higher member engagement, and outperform peers. In short, purpose energizes the entire organization, and that passion emanates throughout all aspects of the credit union.

A large part of what fueled The Great Resignation was employees feeling they were going through the motions of their work, with an organization that does not truly align with their values. If organizations reaffirm their purpose and actively take steps to embed it in their operations, results will follow. Gallup research has found 70% of consumer decisions are based off emotion. However, too often, credit unions focus on the 30% rational side of decisions. Leading with rates and fees is rational, leading with purpose the why of the organization is emotional. If credit unions can make an emotional connection, they will win with employees and with members.

Callahan believes leading with purpose will ensure credit unions remain relevant. It also will help them stand out in the crowded financial marketplace. Our purpose is to empower credit union to impact their members and communities in meaningful ways, and we have worked tirelessly to live our purpose and provide you tools to get your mission (purpose) off of our walls and into our halls where it will move your cooperative forward.

From our transformational learning experience rooted in Sustainable Business Strategy with Rebecca Henderson, offered in collaboration with Harvard Business School, to our ever-growing Impact Network designed to empower cooperatives with access to like-minded peers and actionable information to improve their stakeholder impact, we are here to help you embed your purpose and accelerate your impact.

As we begin to navigate life on the other side of the pandemic, I believe it is essential credit unions live their purpose, as stakeholders need us now more than ever.

Callahan’s Impact Network empowers credit unions to better articulate their value through a mission-focused lens with the help of new metrics and best practices. Join the Impact Network today and help evolve the credit union story.

March 28, 2022

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