The era of social technologies provides seemingly endless opportunity, both for members and credit unions. Smart companies are turning social into the DNA of their business models, increasing their speed and flexibility by pursuing openness and fluidity. These organizations don’t operate like the powerful “800-pound gorillas” of yesterday – but instead act more like 800 gazelles, moving together across a wide, open field, outrunning the competition.

Best-selling author Nilofer Merchant discussed in her keynote at THINK 15 how credit unions can become more agile and collaborative in the Social Era:

  • Be social. Give ownership of your brand to users. Encourage ideas to come from outside your organization and find ways to build relationships in collaboration with members.
  • Be agile. The new efficiency is about relationships. Success will depend on having the speed and agility to leap from one opportunity to the next. It is not about working faster or delivering faster experiences, it’s about better serving relationships.
  • Rethink everything. Invite everyone to participate. Anyone can contribute to solving your business problems, not only executives or typical problem-solvers. Sometimes the right talent or idea doesn’t look the way you initially envisioned.
  • It’s about us. Empower individuals to empower the team. And give them purpose to bring out the very best people – and the best in people.
  • Listen empathetically. Create a culture that allows all ideas to come to the table. The most important thing you can do as a leader is to listen better. Go to meetings with questions, not statements.

Keynote speaker JB Straubel, co-founder and CTO of Tesla, complemented this list with insights on how to leap ahead of the pack:

  • Embrace a new mindset: Tesla’s management team cut its teeth in the world of electronics and software. Instead of trying to build cars the way everyone else was building cars, Tesla took advantage of their “outsider” perspective on how drivers should interact with their automobiles.
  • See opportunities instead of problems: Successful people work with what they have at hand – whatever comes along – and try to use everything at their disposal in achieving their goals. That is why they are grateful for surprises, obstacles, and even disappointments. Their unique perspective gives them more information and resources to draw upon.

The Industrial Era and the Information Age are over and their governing rules are passé. Leading in the emerging Social Era requires a rethinking and re-imagination of what credit unions can be. By focusing on being a unifying force for many people and perspectives, credit unions can have a unique advantage in a social marketplace. Learn how to rethink and let the change begin.

Lessons from THINK 15: Helpfull