Goals - 1The 2014 goals for your financial institution are probably already set. Hopefully, many of those goals involve changing your bank or credit union. Because if you are not changing, you are not growing. But your goals maybe should go beyond just changing your financial institution. Maybe you should just reinvent it.

If you want to not just change but reinvent your bank or credit union, then one book you want to read this month is The Reinventors by Jason Jennings. The subtitle says it all: How Extraordinary Companies Pursue Radical Continuous Change. Let’s be honest: there is A LOT about credit unions and community banks that must change (in order for them to survive). Reading The Reinventors will give you many ideas on how to positively implement those necessary changes.

Below are some quotes from the book and how we can apply them.

(1) “Your job as you know it and your business as it is currently run will eventually change.”

Jennings makes a compelling comparison of the top 25 companies in the Fortune 500. He notes that between the years 2000 and 2010 almost two-thirds of those top 25 companies fell off the top 25 list. In only 10 years. In other words, even the largest and most successful companies have a hard time sustaining growth.

  • Application: If you don’t change the way your bank or credit union is doing business, your institution will become irrelevant. Determine two things you WILL change this year. Dive deeply into how you can change your marketing, your procedures, your brand, your processes and your products.


(2) “Companies committed to growth make staying ahead of their customers’ wants and needs a hallmark of their culture and accomplish that goal through constant radical change”

You can no longer take baby steps to change. True growth is only accomplished with radical change. You have to know what the consumer of the future wants. Stop thinking about today and focus on tomorrow. But make sure that focus includes an eye on the consumer (and not just your institution).

  • Application: Talk to your customers and members on a regular basis. Make sure you are conducting surveys and focus groups. But beyond that, every now and then just sit down and talk with some consumers about banking. Ask them what they want. Make sure you are also doing your own research on banking trends (reading Brett King, Ron Shevlin and The Financial Brand are great places to start).


(3) “Don’t allow skunking—the spraying of negativity.”

When you start trying to change your financial institution, prepare for the onslaught of negativity. Jennings calls this “skunking.” He defines skunking as “spraying negativity on the creative spark in a coworker or subordinate. It can be an impatient look that says, ‘That’s a dumb question,’ or a conversation killing shot like ‘We tried that and it didn’t work.’”

  • Application: Fire the negative people and naysayers. Okay, that may be a little harsh but you get the idea. You know you have to change things at your bank or credit union. If others complain, spread gossip, or roll their eyes then take care of those issues immediately. In other words, change the people or change people.


(4) “People aren’t your most important resource—the right people are your only resource.”

This is actually a quote from Jennings’ interview with Dan DiMicco, CEO of Nucor Corporation. It’s not about having bodies in positions; it’s about having the right bodies in the right position. When it comes to the right people, Jennings also emphasized the importance of hiring lifelong learners.

  • Application: Review your organization chart. Do you have the right people in the right places. Sometimes we’re too nice or too afraid to pull the trigger when it comes to H.R. type issues. More than likely, you know if someone is not a good fit for your financial institution. If that is the case, stop holding on to them.

Those are a few of the key quotes from The Reinventors. But there are plenty others. The bottom line is your bank or credit union will change in the coming years. Will you drive that change or will that change be forced upon you?

One of the best ways to make sure you stay relevant as a financial institution is to embrace change through reinvention. By reading The Reinventors you will ensure you are leading your bank or credit union in that right direction.