OCEAN CITY, Md. — A credit union’s mission statement is something that everyone at the organization knows, understands, and can articulate in their words.

If they cannot do that, they cannot follow through on them, consultant Harry Jones, who has worked with companies like Amoco, AT&T, and General Motors, advised. Mission statements are not something to write in lofty words and shelve as a completed project but something to develop, modify, and a standard to hold your credit union to daily.

Then ensure there are shared values in reaching that purpose with buy-in from everyone in the organization, board of directors to the teller line, he shared with his audience at the Maryland & D.C. Credit Union Association Annual Meeting held June 13-16. Without aligning everyone’s goals, a credit union will have a hard time achieving them.

Jones relayed a story about one time when he was talking to a pilot who told him that all the airplanes in the air at any given time are off-course 97% of the time but with minor adjustments throughout the trip, you reach your destination.

Sometimes, as with the metaphor, you will veer off-course, Jones said, due to complacency or change. “There’s been a lot of change out there. Your members have changed, their business has changed, their needs have changed, their expectations have changed,” he noted. Has your credit union and its mission adapted is the critical question.