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A Direct Line Blog

We’ve Always Done It That Way

June 28, 2017 7:30 am

(Note: This post originally appeared in A Direct Line in March 2016. Donya is on vacation this week, so we’re running it again.)

By Donya Parrish

They say the most dangerous phrase you can hear is “We’ve always done it that way.” That can be especially true in a board room or meeting. Whether used defensively to resist change or to limit a proposal to implement a more efficient process, it has consequences.

In the last couple weeks, my colleague and I have had a couple compliance-related conversations with credit unions that involved that same statement, followed closely by “but, I am not sure why we allow it.” In both cases, it was a practice that put the credit union at great risk. We were shocked at the practices, but no one wanted to upset the apple cart and suggest a change. It was only when there was a severe problem that change was even talked about.

My suggestion to you as board members is that your role is to foster an environment where both the health and the reputation of your credit union are closely considered and protected. Member service is also important, but not when it puts all members and the institution at risk. Supervisory committee members, management, and staff should all feel that they can bring suggestions forward without meeting the WADITW barrier.

Michael Reardon has some suggestions in in his article for ending that culture. While you may not agree with his first recommendation — to tackle anyone that says it — I bet it would be effective. All kidding aside, there is a lot of change going on across the state right now with data and card conversions, new board members, management retirements, and of course, “those millennials” who expect and need financial services.

What better time to end WADITW and look for ideas and ambassadors who can lead the way. For some additional steps to make a shift, this blog is helpful. Good luck — we’ve got your back. It’s how we’ve always done it!

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