From John: Chase Perfection to Catch Excellence in Talent Development

chase perfection catch excellence puzzle
John Pembroke Photo

2 minutes

Three steps to using this idea to stay competitive

In a recent episode of the CUES Podcast, host James Lenz asked me if there might be a quote I try to live by professionally. James, our manager of professional development, lives near Green Bay, Wis., and cheers for the Packers. He knows that I’m a huge fan of the rival Chicago Bears, so we both understood the significance of my responding with this quote from legendary Packers coach Vince Lombardi:

“Perfection is not attainable; but if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence.”

Lombardi was a great coach, and this is a great quote that applies to many things in business, including talent development. Here are three steps to applying it to the learning that must be going on in your credit union to keep you competitive:

  1. Make plans. Football teams chasing excellence need bench strength—both a plan for who will play when star athletes can’t and a strategy for how to ready those players to step in. Similarly, credit unions need to develop a succession plan for the CEO, all staff and the board. This should involve identifying “high potentials,” who will likely be able to develop into managers, leaders and board officers. Finally, credit unions need a plan for providing the needed learning resources to everyone on the team; having a CUES Unlimited or Unlimited+ membership will support this.
  2. Develop your people. Becoming a star football player takes practice. Becoming a credit union leader takes practice, too. Developing your people isn’t only about formal learning sessions. It also can come from mentoring, special projects or assignments, online learning, reading useful content, and networking, both through online forums like CUES Net and during onsite education programs.
  3. Assess progress. As the old business adage goes, you can’t manage what you can’t measure. CUES members can leverage the new CUES Learning Portal to track staff and director learning. It’s also a good idea to do regular performance appraisals for staff, the CEO, the board as a whole and even for individual directors.

Plan-develop-assess and then repeat is a great process for chasing perfection in developing talent. I hope it helps you catch excellence.

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.

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