Leadership is the Apple of a Credit Union’s Eye
Steve Jobs has been on a medical leave of absence from Apple since early this year. As I’m writing this, he just announced that he was no longer able to carry out his duties as CEO of Apple. It is sad news when anyone has to give up their passion and, in his case, face an unknown demon–at least unknown to the public–within his body.
Jobs has lived to make everyone’s lives easier and fix problems you didn’t know you had such as carrying around a cell phone, camera, music player and laptop separately. This techno geek has a following that rivals the greatest professional sports players, and, yet, he and they are mere mortals with some parts that cannot be fixed or replaced.
In succession planning, particularly for a public spot like CEO, credit unions need leaders. They need people with the basic financial and management skills, but what credit unions as a whole really need are leaders. Leaders don’t make sure forms are filled out in triplicate; true leaders have the ability to discern what can be delegated. Leaders lead. It’s important to step behind the teller station or take some member service calls once a month, but leaders cannot lead if they’re mired too deeply in the day-to-day details.
In succession planning, certain skills need to be developed without question, but a lot of people are capable of performing the day-to-day functioning of an organization. The potential for true leadership must be recognized and cultivated. Real leaders won’t feel threatened that they are training their replacements because true leaders understand that the organization is bigger than themselves.