As Jason Jennings, author of The Reinventors, says, “Instead of accepting personal responsibility and addressing the root cause—an unwillingness to embrace radical change—for their lack of growth, many business leaders spend their time finding excuses for their poor performance.”
What are excuses we use for our lack at growth? Here are five common ones that we need to throw aside:
- Our economy—Perhaps the biggest excuse I’ve heard for lack of growth in the past three to five years is the economy. Get over it already. The truth is every financial institution is dealing with the same economy. Some are growing and some are not. So if some banks and credit unions are growing then a lack of growth cannot be solely linked to the economy. Recessions can actually be a good time to grow. Use the current economy to your advantage rather than use it as a crutch.
- Our marketing—Marketing usually has a target on its back. Stop aiming arrows at your marketing department. Blaming marketing is just an excuse. If you are truly concerned your marketing is suffering, conduct a marketing audit rather than throw marketing under the bus. A marketing audit will give you unbiased feedback along with strategic and tactical recommendations on improving this key area.
- Our unwillingness to change—If you are not changing, you are not growing. And who controls change at your credit union or bank? You do! So if your financial institution is not changing as fast as it needs to grow, there is no one to blame but you. As Abraham Maslow once said, “you will either step forward into growth or back into safety.” Being unwilling to change is not an excuse (it’s stupidity).
- Our board—Don’t let your board hold you back. Too many times we avoid taking risks as financial institutions because our boards tend to be conservative. While that is certainly understandable, it also can prevent growth. Rather than using the board as an excuse, challenge your board. Talk to them about their legacy: what do they want to leave future generations?
- Our technology—We can’t keep up with all the new and changing technology tools. Well, who can? Rather than lamenting what you can’t do because of technology, focus on what you can do. Also, if technology (or a lack thereof) is really slowing down your progress, then address those technological challenges. “We can’t do ‘such and such’ because our technology won’t let us” is nothing more than excuse. Fix it.
You get the idea. You are far more in control of your growth than you realize. Stop making excuses and start growing.