Recommended Reading (1Q 2019)

Callahan’s associates offer their take on the best books for credit union leaders.

The Data-Driven Credit Union: Transforming Your Credit Union with a Data-Driven Decision Culture

by Michael Cochrum

Summary:Ronald Coase famously said, If you torture the data long enough, it will confess. This iconic quote from the late British economist is used in Michael Cochrum’s 2018 book,The Data-Driven Credit Union, to reflect a pragmatic mindset toward how credit unions should address their data. Cochrum, a 20-year-industry veteran whose roles have included vice president of analytics for CU Direct, walks his talk: making the empirical case for credit unions to adopt data-centricity as not simply a siloed discipline, but as a pillar of their organizational culture.

Review:With an unapologetically dry sense of humor on banking and business intelligence, Cochrum cuts through the hype of suppliers, pundits, and trade journals to break down data analytics into age-old mathematic and statistical concepts. As a company that prides ourselves in working with data, I had to read his book. But after the first half of the read, I felt the familiar agony of working through Old Testament Levitical law as he began a deep dive into comparative KPIs and how to analyze and identify anomalies. However, my persistence was rewarded by the end of the book. Cochrum lays out a thoughtful approach for adopting a data-driven decision-making culture, the obstacles for success, and the fundamental toolset for the uninitiated organization. Critical for those readers who are curious immigrants to the concept of a data-driven enterprise, Cochrum takes the posture of a teacher, using wit and relatable stories not only to explain complex ideas but also give them resonance. Most importantly, Cochrum’s first work reminds us of pioneering statistician Dr. W. Edward Deming’s core principle: Without data, you are just another person with an opinion.

Josh McAfee, Advisor, Callahan & Associates

Leaders Eat Last

by Simon Sinek

Summary:The bold title of this book sets the table for author Simon Sinek’s thesis on how business leaders need to behave in order to get the best from their people.Leaders Eat Lastwas inspired by a conversation Sinek had with a Marine Corps general who explained that, officers eat last. In the chow hall, junior Marines eat first while the most senior officers take their place at the back of the line. And while that’s symbolic during mealtimes, it’s deadly serious on the battlefield: Great leaders sacrifice their own comfort even their own survival for the good of those in their care. Sinek connects this battlefield principle to the boardroom to explain how fiercely loyal employees will be to a cause when leaders take care of their people first. This book offers real-life examples of how long-term, sustainable success will only come as a result of building empathy, embedding the right culture, and understanding that people are more productive if they’re happy and engaged.

Review:If you’ve ever read any of Simon Sinek’s books, you understand how powerful and inspiring they are andLeaders Eat Lastis no exception. Unlike other leadership books, Sinek doesn’t throw any complex principles or theories your way, nor does he use overcomplicated charts and graphs or require readers to memorize an alphabet soup of acronyms promising to help you hit your goals or make an impact. He keeps it simple. The idea that leadership is about taking care of your people is the underlying principle of every chapter.Leaders Eat Lastleft me reflecting on both my personal and professional lives. As Sinek states, The rank of office is not what makes someone a leader. Leadership is the choice to serve others with or without any formal rank. There are so many opportunities, whether at work, at home, or at my part time job, to inspire change and action in my peers. After reading this book, I am more inspired than ever to be an agent of change helping to cultivate a culture of happy and engaged friends and colleagues. I would recommend this book to any leader interested in inspiring deep trust and commitment to your people and your credit union.

Madison Harbin, Brand Advocate, Callahan & Associates

This article appeared originally in Credit Union Strategy & Performance. Read More Today.

June 1, 2019

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