Fast and Slow All at Once

Mark Arnold
Fast and Slow All at Once

Nothing about leadership is easy…especially making decisions.

As your credit union or community bank’s leader, the decisions you make have a critical impact on your institution’s future. Do you rebrand? What gets more funding? Is now the right time for a new core? 

There’s no firm science to decision-making, and how you make decisions depends on the situation.

Think about the story of the tortoise and the hare. It’s not “slow and steady” wins the race when it comes to your credit union or community bank. But it’s also not “fast and loose” wins the race. 

It’s a bit of both. You’re often the tortoise and the hare.


The Tortoise: Make Calculated Decisions


Any decision requires forethought. You shouldn’t dive into something right away…you must lead with strategy.

For example, a question credit unions and community bank leaders frequently ask is, “Should we be on Twitter/TikTok/the latest social media craze?” And a justification for creating a social media account is sometimes, “It’s so popular” or “This other institution did it.”

Remember, you don’t want to move too quickly. Stop and think.

Just because it’s popular doesn’t mean it’s the right move for your institution. Don’t hop on a bandwagon. Analyze your niche. Would a new platform appeal to your members or customers? 

Harvard Business Review spotlights a seven-step checklist to help leaders make better decisions. This list includes:

  1. Writing down goals
  2. Thinking of alternatives
  3. Considering missing information
  4. Thinking of your decision’s impact a year from now
  5. Involving other stakeholders
  6. Writing down the decision and reasoning behind it
  7. Scheduling a follow-up two months later

In the long run, using this list helped managers achieve their expected results 90% of the time.


The Hare: Seize the Moment and Fight Indecision


Using a decision-making process doesn’t mean you get to sit around a room talking about an issue but never actually deciding on anything. Credit unions and community banks have a reputation for falling behind the times or moving too slow.  

Don’t fall into that stereotype.

The truth is, you’ll never have 100% certainty about any choice you make. Even Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos says he makes decisions with only 70% of the data. He says that waiting for even 80% of the data to reach a conclusion compromises your growth.

You must take the leap and make decisions on certain issues now. No decisions equal no future.

Think about core conversions for a minute. Community financial institutions can’t usually afford to delay these projects any longer. Failing to launch a new core today could mean the difference between your institution surviving or merging several years from now.


Win the Race


Do you remember why the hare lost the race? He was overconfident and had a bad work ethic.

Whatever decision you make – whether it’s one requiring calculation or speed – don’t let it languish. Work hard to bring it to completion. Push your staff to achieve your goals.

If no one sees goals through, the type of decision won’t matter anyway.

But decision-making isn’t easy for many leaders, which is where leadership training can help. Book a free consultation with On The Mark Strategies’ leadership training facilitators, and make decisions that give your credit union or community bank a bright future.

Mark Arnold
Founder and CEO