I just returned from a week in Williamsburg, Va., and I’m ready to do battle again, all batteries recharged. While on vacation, I read publisher Mike Welch’s column on the Renaissance Commission. It made me think that one of the most frustrating things about trade organizations like CUNA is that they feel the need to be all things for all people. My experience in Williamsburg reminded me that there was no one voice in the American revolutionary struggle for freedom. Patrick Henry was a rebel. Tom Jefferson was a realistic dreamer. George Washington was a compromiser. James Madison was the real word crafter of the group. They didn’t see eye-to-eye on many issues except independence. Their vision of what this country could be was enough to keep them focused on their goal despite their deep-seated differences. I think there is a great lesson to be learned in Williamsburg: we don’t all have to agree on what our credit union should be, or how it should operate in the competitive world of financial services, but we must agree on our vision, our reason for being. As Mike Welch pointed out, a vision must be focused and memorable, not requiring paragraphs to explain. At Freedom, our vision is: “To create a memorable and fun service experience.” Embedded in that vision are the values of respect, honesty, fairness, and caring. Within the vision are the unspoken virtues of open communications, active listening, service beyond the expected, and fun. Why couldn’t the Renaissance Commission develop such a simple, yet clear, vision to be supplemented with maybe six innovative initiatives that each credit union could tailor to their own needs and membership? Simply because when you invite everyone to participate, you are obliged to capture what everyone offers. Why is that a problem? Can you imagine, if instead of Jefferson and Madison crafting the Declaration of Independence, we had all the representatives to the Continental Congress providing input? Instead of the Declaration of Independence, we would have the 1776 version of the Renaissance Commission Report. What ever happened to Keep It Simple? Oh, that’s right, the bankers and the lawyers banned it. Jim Schmid Chairman Freedom of Maryland FCU Harford County, Maryland

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