One of the most critical challenges credit unions face today is coming up with new and innovative ideas that will position them for long term success. The first step is expanding the way people think and helping them look beyond the comfortable to consider the possible.

An easy and effective way to start the process is to have the team read a book that focuses on the power of thinking big and then have them discuss their reactions and insights. That will open the mind to creativity and set the stage for better idea creation.

From my perspective, there is only one book that fits this purpose.

Some books just have staying power. Sometimes it comes from the point when they came into your life and the impact they made. Other times it comes from the information they share and the value it has. Still other times it’s because they keep popping up on the radar screen and being recommended by people you respect.

The Magic of Thinking Big is a book with staying power on all levels, even on my recent tenth read. While many of the ideas are now familiar, and the insights may feel a bit dated to some, the wisdom is timeless. These concepts are as relevant today as when the book was first published over 50 years ago. Reading (and rereading) the book is guaranteed to stimulate new ideas and convince you to think bigger.

Dr. David J. Schwartz was a professor at Georgia State University in Atlanta and the president of Creative Educational Services, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in leadership development. Schwartz’s book has sold over 4 million copies and is widely respected in the fields of personal development and life coaching. Its lessons have significant and meaningful implications for today’s credit union leaders.

Not surprisingly the core message of The Magic of Thinking Big is that you have the power to change the way you think. From that premise Schwartz provides examples illustrating the impacts of thinking bigger on your personal and professional life. The action steps provided are easily within reach, and the potential impacts for your credit union are significant.

ACTION ADVICE: Buy a copy of this book for everyone on your planning team. Set up a timeline that will have everyone read the book across a set period of time…perhaps several weeks or even months. Block out time when the team is together to discuss the concepts and ideas in the book, then do some quick idea storming about the future of your credit union. Write the ideas down and bring them to the next meeting. Consider giving everyone an idea journal and asking them to note the ideas that come to them as they read the book and between your sessions. Investing this time in expanding the thinking of the team will pay significant dividends in the long term. Get started today!

It’s Your Turn…What book(s) (or articles) would you recommend to jump start the creative process? Do you have any tools or exercises that you have used with good results with your team? Please post a comment and share your insights.