One of the best ways to improve your credit union’s culture is to borrow ideas that work from other businesses, both those inside the credit union industry and those from unrelated industries.

The challenge is finding ways to observe what others are doing and time to ponder how it might work in your credit union.

Over the weekend a small family crisis afforded me the chance to observe the way our local hospital is working on high performance culture building.

What I saw was impressive, easily duplicated, and probably more powerful than even those who are involved realize.

Let me share two specific elements of the initiative that were visible during a visit with a family member who had been admitted for some tests:

1.  Write-On Sign Boards...At various points in the hallways and in the elevators there were small 12 inch by 12 inch write-on sign boards.  Much like the boards used for the daily specials in eateries, these boards featured a daily positive message that someone had handwritten.  Though I don’t know who posted the messages or how often they were changed, as a visitor they showed me that the team was interested in improving and made me feel better about what can often be a trying experience.

2. Screen-Saver Reinforcements…While waiting for some information at one of the nurse’s stations I glimpsed a computer monitor with a series of constantly rotating messages.  At the top of the screen were some identifying words about a joint task force, suggesting some level of engagement from a cross-functional team in the creation of the messages.  On the screen were questions about how to do various aspects of the job, followed by the right answer for the team at this particular hospital.  Though no one was sitting watching the messages intently, they were being seen during the course of the workday, constantly creating and reinforcing a common culture and way of doing things in an unobtrusive  manner.

The lessons here are as simple as they are obvious, and they leverage two of the most powerful truths about human behavior…

  • We become what we think about; And we think about what we are exposed to, even when the exposure is passive.
  • Repetition is the mother of skill; Seeing a message over and over cements it into the subconscious mind and leads us to act in a manner consistent with it.

ACTION ADVICE: Consider this example and ask where you might do something similar in your credit union to engage your team in high performance culture building every day.  Look for simple actions, locations where you can provide messages in a passive way that will impact your team and create the culture you are seeking.  Don’t forget to engage team members in the development and implementation of the initiative…if they do it, they own it, and it has much more impact!