One of the inherent challenges in leading your credit union is finding a way to change things when things need to be changed.  Volumes have been written about the natural momentum in organizations that gets in the way of implementing even the best ideas.

But my point is not to lament those problems, nor to suggest magical solutions to them.  Instead my goal is to suggest that there is one critical step that needs to be taken before you even consider changing anything the you do in your credit union: Change the way you think about change.

The reality is that change is a part of any growth process.  More important, change always happens incrementally.

Think about it.

If you didn’t try to change anything in your credit union–essentially put a moratorium on change–what would happen? Over time things would change, despite your intentions.

This would happen because change is a natural thing and it happens, whether you intend for it to happen or not.

When you consider that reality, the idea of creating change to make things better doesn’t seem as daunting.  It also helps you to realize that change doesn’t have to be perfect, or even complete, from the start.

And therein lies the key lesson.

In a dynamic and every-changing marketplace for financial services, it is important to embrace change, to recognize that it happens naturally, and to understand that it evolves one step at a time.  This frees you to look for small actions that you can take without a lot of disruption, and it removes planning as the obstacle to implementing improvements.

With this perspective you can adopt what may be the most valuable approach to change for today’s credit unions:  Create, Test, & Adjust. It saves time, it saves money, and it creates more impact.

The bottom line: Too often great ideas for change emerge during planning sessions, day-to-day meetings, and random conversations, but they are lost because of a desire to figure out how to implement them throughout the organization without any trial or testing.  Given the costs involved and the lessons that can be learned from quick trials, it makes much more sense to create what you need, then test the idea, and use what you learn to adjust your approach.  Then, once you have proven the process, you can roll it out throughout your credit union.

ACTION ADVICE: Take stock of the ideas that are running around within your credit union today–the ones that people regularly toss around and think about, but never act upon.  What are the roadblocks that are keeping you from taking action? Can they be overcome by creating, testing, and adjusting during a pilot initiative that allows you to both prove and improve your approach?  Give it a shot with a couple of your favorite ideas and see how much easier and better change is when you take incremental steps.