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NACUSO is just weeks away from the unveiling of what it says is the industry’s first certification program that peels back collaboration and innovation strategies designed to keep credit unions sustainable.The applied education and certification program was created by NACUSO’s National Center for Collaboration and Innovation in partnership with Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif. One of the goals of the “designing and implementing collaboration and business networks” agenda is identifying which ones will have the greatest payoff, including areas for increasing noninterest income and lowering operating costs. Another component is identifying the skills needed to build and manage business networks.“The industry is certainly in the midst of challenges it hasn’t seen in its lifetime, and we’re in a mature phase of growth cycle,” said Tom Davis, president/CEO of NACUSO. “The No. 1 challenge for the industry is sustainability.”The certification program’s first session will take place Oct. 25-28 at Pepperdine University. More than a dozen credit union representatives have signed up for the inaugural curriculum, Davis said. A second session will take place in April 2010. Credit union notables, along with Pepperdine faculty, will conduct the sessions. Keynote speaker and author Stephen M.R. Covey will share his knowledge of leadership development.The four-day session in October will feature courses on identifying the primary and secondary funding strategies for building and growing collaborations and business networks and scalable platforms. Participants are also set to learn how to build trust and overcome those barriers that may prevent collaborations with other credit union CEOs. The legal issues and governance structures related to collaborations will also be explored.“This program boldly identifies credit union participants who consider themselves business designers [and] architects who are empowered to redefine credit union and CUSO businesses. NACUSO’s program is about starting these leaders on the path to translating what network business designs might mean to our industry,” wrote Randy Karnes, CEO of CU*Answers, a solution services CUSO, on NACUSO’s Web site. Karnes will co-teach a course on implementation and execution strategies for networked businesses.Program participants will be grouped into teams of five to six individuals to design and implement a collaboration and business network project after leaving the on-site portion of the program. They will then return to Pepperdine after 12 months to present their respective projects and have them critiqued by peers and faculty members.Upon successful completion of the initial on-site program courses, participants will be granted a joint certification designation phase I certified collaboration professional from NACUSO and Pepperdine. A second phase II certified collaboration professional certification will be granted upon successful completion and presentation of the project.“We want this to be a positive, applied learning experience. You’re going to have to take what you learn and integrate it,” Davis said. “We’re not just focused on winning the battles but winning the war.”–[email protected]

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