Article

Leadership Matters: 5 Strategies to Get ‘Unstuck’

confused and stressed young businesswoman holding her head with tangled arrows drawn on chalkboard behind her
Meridith Elliott Powell Photo
Author, Keynote Speaker and Business Strategist

4 minutes

It’s easy to find yourself floundering in the face of uncertainty. Here’s how to keep your CU growing in times of constant change.

This article is adapted from a blog post originally published here.

Look, we have all been there, and probably more than a few times: You’re trying to increase membership or grow your loan portfolio, implement a new strategy or develop a new product, and you feel like you can’t make progress. In other words, you’re stuck.

While this has always been a challenge in business, it feels like in the age of COVID-19, “stuck” has gone on steroids. Change is happening at such a colossal level, and while we know something is always coming, we don’t know what that change is going to be or how it will impact us. It can be scary, and it can be exhausting.

So, while getting stuck comes with the territory, staying stuck is not an option if you want your credit union to grow. One of the most important skills you can gain as a leader is understanding when you’re stuck and learning how to move through and past it.

One Step Forward Towards Change

I have been struggling with this in my own business. Like financial services, my industry was also turned upside down when this pandemic hit. It not only significantly decreased my revenue, but it rendered my business model unworkable. I have spent the last year redesigning my business and doing the dreaded pivot.

With many false starts and a few steps backward, I have finally landed on a business model that I am excited about and one I want to pursue. If only it were that easy—if I could just select my new business model and easily transition into it. But it doesn’t work like that. Making change at this level is challenging, and more often than not in this process, I have found myself stuck and unsure of how to move forward.

Here are the five strategies I have used to get unstuck in my business. I hope that they will work for you too.

1. Go Back To Your Vision

In my opinion, success is not logical. In fact, if you sit down right now and make a list of all the reasons you cannot be successful and all the reasons you can, the list of why you can’t will almost always be longer. So, to move forward, you need to spend time focusing on your vision. Looking at and focusing on your credit union’s vision up to three times a day will not only motivate and inspire you, but it will also align your actions on moving forward and pushing through the obstacles.

2. Focus On What You Can Control

One reason it is easy to get stuck in uncertain times is that there is so much outside of your control that can impact your success. You are at the mercy of competition, the market, consumers—and the list go on. One of my favorite exercises is to make a list of everything I am worried and excited about. Just do a massive brain dump. Then divide that list into what you can control and what you can’t. Your job is to then focus on what you can control and forget about the rest. Again, success is not logical; it is a function of what you focus on.

3. Engage Your Connections

Your connections are your currency. You have probably heard that a million times. When you are stuck, you need your community. Sharing the challenges you’re having, asking for ideas and input will not only renew your passion for what you do but will give you a new perspective and new actions to take to get unstuck. There is no problem you are facing in your business, no challenge that someone in your community has not faced or has not dealt with. Invest in your community, and they will invest in you.

4. Refocus Consistently

To get unstuck in your business; you need to be clear on what is working, what is not, what you need to do more of, what you need to do less of, and what you need to add that you are not doing. The tool Seeds, Weeds, and Needs is so powerful for this. Reflect on your business at least every three months and ask yourself: What are you doing that you need to keep doing (SEEDS), what do you need to quit doing, what is wasting your time (WEEDS) and what do you need to add, what would infuse energy and ideas in your business (NEEDS)? The Seeds, Weeds and Needs will ensure you refocus consistently.

5. Celebrate Progress

Then take the time to celebrate every little step you make. Getting unstuck is about progress and moving forward. Take the time to think about how far you have come, what you have accomplished, and the progress you are making. Progress builds confidence, and that confidence will ensure you get unstuck.

Getting stuck in business, especially in times of extreme uncertainty, is something we all experience. But the difference between people who succeed and those who don’t is implementing the strategies, these strategies, to push through the obstacles. They move from being limited by uncertainty to turning it into their competitive advantage.

What ideas are you using in your business to get unstuck?

Sales strategist, leadership expert, Certified Speaking Professional, and award-winning author, Meridith Elliott Powell wants today’s businesses to stop viewing uncertainty as something that prevents them from being successful. To learn more about turning uncertainty into a competitive advantage, check out her newest book, THRIVE Turning Uncertainty To Competitive Advantage. Download the sneak peek here.

Learn More at Execu/Net™

“Business as usual” stops here. Learn how to set your credit union up for a successful future with Meridith Elliott Powell at Execu/Net, Aug. 15-18, 2021, in Whitefish, Montana.
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