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Align Strategy, Culture, Leadership For CU Success
MADISON, Wis. (10/3/13)--If the competitive nature of today's financial marketplace is making it necessary for credit unions to switch their business strategy, it would behoove them to make certain their culture and leadership are tooled to drive that strategy, keynote speaker John Lass, CUNA Mutual Group senior vice president of strategy and business development, told participants of CUNA Mutual's Online Discovery Conference on Tuesday.
 
"Many credit unions are at an inflection point due to market changes, and they need to revisit their strategy," Lass said. "If you're at that point, you need alignment among your strategy, culture and leadership teams.
 
"Forces within the financial services arena are driving businesses to change their strategies, and credit unions are no exception," Lass said in his presentation, titled "The Power of Three: Leadership + Culture + Strategy."
 
"Think about the number of retailers, payment providers, platform players, the new regulations that you're having to deal with and all of the new channels you have to manage and master," Lass said. "For those reasons and more, many credit unions are at a strategic inflection point--the decisions you make today will dictate if your business goes on to new heights, or declines."
 
The strategies credit unions employ to avoid a decline may range from being a product or pricing leader to being exceptional at customer service. Whatever strategic road they go down, it's vitally important for credit unions to look at their culture and leadership team and determine whether they are tooled culturally, and from a leadership perspective to reach the level of success desired, Lass said. 
 
"Externally, you need to look at where your customers are and where you need to go," Lass said. "But internally, each leader has his or her style and strengths. The right leader has to be in place to execute your strategy. It's not about changing who the leadership is; it's building a leadership team and culture that aligns well together."
 
Online Discovery is CUNA Mutual Group's Web-based equivalent of a face-to-face conference without the associated expenses or time away from the office.
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