Your Community Bank or Credit Union Vision is So Much More Than Fluff

Shawn Temple
Your Community Bank or Credit Union Vision is So Much More Than Fluff

It’s true! Your community bank or credit union vision is something meant to inspire each and every employee. It provides that crucial “why” someone needs to passionately perform their job.  

But far too often, a vision is just a series of rote words on a wall or website. It’s time to take your vision off the wall and put it in people’s hearts.

Let’s look at the real impact of vision, how to create a good one and how to establish buy-in.


Top Performers Care About Vision


In “Grow,” former Procter & Gamble marketing executive Jim Stengel reviewed 50,000 brands to see what made them successful. He found that the top 50 brands grew 200% to 300% faster than the S&P 500. Why?

They devotedly pursued higher ideals.

Those organizations understood an incredible vision unites employees and spurs a hunger for service. It goes beyond a paycheck and into purpose. Every stakeholder realizes they are doing something important, so every stakeholder works like it matters.

When you have an entire business believing the work is of the utmost importance…the business grows.

Oftentimes, “reasonable financial products” and “competitive rates” – those beloved industry buzzwords found in a community bank or credit union vision – don’t inspire the same passion. Let’s discuss that next.


Craft a Vision That Intrigues and Inspires


Many community financial institution visions are straight-up dull. Boring. Sleep-inducing. All-in-all, the opposite of what you want from an ideal meant to inspire everyone’s daily work.

You need a vision people want to pursue. Something interesting and exciting.

For example, the On The Mark Strategies vision says: “We are a team of Avengers helping local financial institutions fight against the top 10 big banks that currently own 77% of all U.S. banking assets.”

Notice the interest-grabber (“I’m an Avenger? What is that like?”) and the excitement (“I get to fight against a supervillain!”). Being a “consultant” means just doing a job. Being an “Avenger” means you change people’s lives.

Draft your own intriguing and inspiring community bank or credit union vision. Here are some tips:

  • Avoid “Golden Retriever Words.” These are words every institution and their dog uses in a vision statement. A couple of them were at the end of the previous section. Other common ones are “integrity,” “fairness” and “community.” These words are overused, making them easy to overlook and ineffective.
  • Involve everyone. It’s wise to involve staff beyond the leadership team when creating the vision. Everyone must live the vision, so everyone must have a stake in it. Incorporating grassroots input increases the likelihood of a vision representative of the entire institution.
  • Empower the employee. Your vision must empower your team…not bore them. Tell people they are community-transforming powerhouses and they’ll become community-transforming powerhouses. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.


Living the Vision Isn’t Optional


Pursuing your community bank or credit union vision isn’t an optional part of your culture. After all, it’s your “why.” If you don’t care about the “why,” why are you here? 

Make your vision a larger part of hiring and employee assessment. Judge if someone is a “culture fit.” This sounds fluffy, but the impacts of a bad culture fit are profoundly negative.

As Gino Wickman says, “He or she [the bad culture fit] is chipping away at what you’re trying to build, in little ways that, most of the time, you don’t even see.”

If a large portion of your team doesn’t care about the vision, there’s a top-down issue. Look in the mirror and determine if you have passion for the vision. Examine training procedures and implement a program that instills passion for the community bank or credit union vision.

Need help on this end?

On The Mark Strategies regularly helps community financial institutions build new, inspiring visions and trains teams to love them. Book a free consultation today and unlock a key element of growth.

Shawn Temple
Strategy Director