Action Guide: 7. Achieve full alignment across all silos

Silos can occur in both large and small credit unions. No matter the size, they are detrimental to the ability of a credit union to succeed in a rapidly changing world. Silos can be vertical or horizontal. Individual business units can have high barriers between them or executives can be completely isolated from lower management levels. Once silos are embedded, they are hard to eradicate and become the natural way of doing business. A siloed credit union cannot act rapidly on new opportunities in a fast-changing business landscape, nor can it make productive decisions about how to change in order to seize these opportunities. Here are four things executives can do to increase integration in day-to-day operations:
  • Develop a single articulation of business strategy.
  • Establish and execute a full suite of metrics.
  • Conduct management in the context of business strategy.
  • Engage cross-functional teams to problem-solve.
Your leadership team needs shared clarity about the business strategy. Start by answering the following: What are your credit union’s target member segments? What benefit do those segments get from doing business with you? How does your credit union generate acceptable profits and cash flow from serving these member? What are the key drivers of revenue? Costs? There is no “silver bullet” metric for business success. Each credit union needs a set of both financial and operational metrics that assess the totality of business performance. Financial metrics typically include a mix of metrics that assess revenues, costs, cash flow and specific balance sheet dynamics. Operational metrics assess the performance of the key drivers of revenues and costs. Day to day, leaders need to demonstrate that they are using their strategy as the basis for every decision. There should be no opportunity for anyone to question the basis or rationale for decisions. This will not only maintain alignment across the leadership team, but drive it throughout the credit union. If your goal is to progress quickly, this factor is key. Lack of alignment typically leads to a raft of unintended consequences that pop up throughout the credit union—not unlike a game of whack-a-mole. Engaging cross-functional teams to solve problems will significantly reduce the unintended consequences and further drive alignment within the organization.
Download the 10-Step Action Guide to Kickstart your Digital Transformation Journey. Join us September 28 for the Digital Transformation Webinar Series: Grow Your Capacity for Change: How Credit Unions Can Thrive in Dynamic Markets. CO-OP Financial Services partnered with NOBL, an Organizational Design Firm, to assess the readiness of credit unions for change. During this webinar, Bud Caddell, NOBL Founder, and Uwe Hook, Digital Transformation Consultant, will share with the audience an inside look at the opportunities and threats facing credit unions today, as well as first steps you can take to grow your capacity for change. Register now