A Muhammad Ali story helps illustrate your learning and career growth options.
In Ali: A Life, author Jonathan Eig tells an interesting story about world-class boxer Muhammad Ali as an adolescent. One day Ali and his friends were out bicycling when it started raining hard. The boys left their bikes on the street and went inside a building for cover. When they came out, the bikes were gone. Stolen.
The boys found a cop and related what had happened. Ali was mad. He was saying things like, “I want to get them. I want to beat them up.” The cop’s response to Ali was, “Do you know how to fight?”
It turns out the cop was Joe Martin, a boxing enthusiast with his own gym, who would later coach both Ali and another top boxer, Jimmy Ellis.
Importantly, after this chance meeting, Ali made the choice to train with Martin, putting himself on the path to becoming the greatest of all time—the GOAT.
“Destiny is a function of chance and choice,” Eig writes.
This is an important idea not only for boxing, but also for credit union leadership. Talented people might not have planned to make their careers in credit unions but got hired by chance—and found they love it. Similarly, today’s directors might never have dreamed of volunteering in this way but were recruited for particular skills they have. Once on the board, they discovered their passion for credit unions.
If this is the chance part of the destiny of credit union leadership, what’s the choice? Like in the story of Ali and Martin, the choice to fully develop potential can result in greatness. How can you fully develop your organization’s collective leadership potential, to the benefit of your credit union and its members? As the leader of the credit union association dedicated 100 percent to talent development, let me suggest two ways:
1. Invest in your own potential and show others that you’re doing it. One strategy for making sure you carve out time for your own learning and growth is to put it in your budget and commit to a certain level of activity for the year. For example, maybe this is the year you not only renew your CUES membership, but also start (or finish) CEO Institute. Talk with your team about your commitment to your own development and what you learn through your efforts.
2. Invest in others’ potential and celebrate their growth. CUES’ new Unlimited and Unlimited+ memberships provide access to great benefits for every staff member and director that wants to join. This includes CUES Director Education Center, CUES Webinar series, CUES Elite Access Virtual Classroom offerings, special event pricing and more. Importantly, CUES Learning Portal, a new membership offering for 2019, will help every CUES member on your team track their own learning, share what they’re learning and see what others are learning.
You and the other leaders and aspiring leaders at your credit union may have arrived in your roles by chance, but the choice is yours to develop your team to its fullest potential. CUES is here to help.
John Pembroke is president/CEO of CUES. Since joining the organization in May 2013 as chief operating officer, he has helped launch a new direction in CUES’ strategy, branding and culture. Pembroke has more than 20 years of experience in branding and financial services. He holds an MBA from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business and is a member of the board of the Goodman Community Center, Madison, Wis.