Reflecting upon the life of Steve Jobs, I’ve thought about what the credit union industry can learn from the many great things said and accomplished by the man who helped build Apple.
Jobs hired brilliant people. “I could be doing a lot of other things with my life, but Macintosh is going to change the world,” Jobs said. “I believe that, and I’ve chosen people for the team who believe it, too.”
This passion, sparked by leaders, is alive throughout Apple, “from the receptionists, to the engineers, to the members of the board of directors,” Apple’s former Human Resources Director Jay Elliot once said.
Credit unions are changing the world. Do your leaders feel this? Does passion spread like electricity across your organization all the way out into your membership? We need leaders and employees who are in it 100%, nothing less.
Jobs expected excellence. “My best contribution is not settling for anything but really good stuff, in all the details. That’s my job.” Apple products reveal this commitment to perfection in every detail.
Do we expect and enable excellence at our credit unions? If not, we’re doing a disservice to ourselves, our credit unions, our industry and, most importantly, our members.
Jobs was not afraid to express how much he loved Apple’s products. With each new product launch, he generated excitement, delivered a memorable experience, created evangelists. Apple users are fiercely loyal to their brand and are the loudest advocates for Apples superiority.
Does our enthusiasm translate to our members? Do they leave our credit unions inspired? Do we create an experience that our members can’t wait to tell others about? We need to make it easier for members whose lives we touch to share their experiences with friends, family and the community. Let’s connect our advocates and make them even louder.
When Jobs was 17, he read: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.”
It rang in the back of his mind for the rest of his life.
What if we lived each day with that in mind? What would change? If every employee worked with this kind of urgency and purpose, what could we accomplish? Is it possible to live every single day as it is your last? It is not only possible, it is essential. If we lose our focus–our roots and our members–inevitably one day will be our last.
Harmony Paulley is electronic records manager at Co-Op Credit Union, Black River Falls, Wis. Contact 715-284-5333 or HPaulley@coopcu.com
The Crash Network is a grassroots organization of more than 100 young credit union professionals. Its activities include meetings, mentorships online collaboration and development projects. Opinions expressed are the personal views of the author.