Want to Build a Better Culture in Your Credit Union? Involve Your Team.

Want to Build a Better Culture in Your Credit Union?  Involve Your Team.
By Karin Hurt and David Dye


We’ve been having lots of amazing conversations about culture with credit union leaders in our MWCUA Executive Ready programs and at the recent MWCUA conference in Scottsdale.

Leaders are working hard on their culture and have some incredible best practices. A common challenge we’re hearing is “how do we get more people aligned and involved?”

This quick and easy culture assessment can help your team talk about your culture and prioritize opportunities for building a high-performance, high-engagement culture.

What is Culture?

Our favorite definition of culture comes from Seth Godin: “People like us do things like this.” So, the easiest way to think about your credit union’s culture is simply: “how we do things around here?”

Not just apsirationally, but in reality.

It’s how your values show up in everyday actions. Particularly when under stress or times of uncertainty and change.

For example, if you have a high integrity credit union  culture, your team can count on one another to speak the truth and follow-through on commitments. “People like us do what we say”

Or, perhaps you have a highly innovative credit union culture.

“People like us are micro-innovators, problem solvers, and member advocates. We’re always looking for ways to improve.”

Or maybe you’re building a member-focused credit union culture. “People like us work with urgency to better serve our members.”

A Culture Assessment

We’ve created a very simple team culture assessment to help you think about your culture and to prioritize opportunities for focused improvement.

It centers around five foundational areas: clarity, capacity, commitment, curiosity, and connection.

Clarity: We know where we’re going and how we will get there

If your team has high-clarity about the work they do, you have clearly identified the most important strategic priorities at every level. Your team knows what’s most important, and why.

Team initiatives align with those priorities.

Capacity: We invest in building our people, systems, and tools

If your team is doing well in the capacity arena, they do a great job of building confidence and competence in every team member and ensuring they have the tools and resources to succeed.

Training and development are priorities at every level.

Commitment: We keep our promises

This is all about accountability and follow-through.

How does your team do in setting clear expectations and holding one another accountable to those expectations?

Doing well in the commitment arena also means people can “ditch the diaper genie” and talk about the tough stuff.

Curiosity: We ask great questions and take appropriate risks

Curious teams come to work asking “how can we?”  “How can we make this better?” “How can we improve?”

Teams that are strong in the curiosity arena, ask courageous questions, proactively seek out new ideas, and respond well to the ideas they receive.

If you’re looking to go a bit deeper here, check out our research on courageous cultures and psychological safety or download the first chapter of our book: Courageous Cultures: How to Build Teams of Micro-Innovators, Problem Solvers, and Customer Advocates. 

Connection: We trust one another and invest in our mutual success.

If building connection is a strength for your team, your “people like us” focus is about fostering deep caring and connection, up, down, and sideways. People collaborate and recognize and celebrate one another and their wins.

How to Use This Culture Assessment

You don’t have to get overly fancy to use this tool.

Ask your team to give a quick assessment in each category. Send it back to you. Compile the themes. Share in your next meeting.  And talk about the “so what.”

Or even easier. Have everyone complete the culture assessment do a “thumbs up, thumbs down, or neutral for each category.

Of course, the magic lies in the “so what” do we do now.

How do we want, “people like us” to behave, and why does it matter?

You can download the 5 Cs Team Culture Assessment here.  Interested in learning more about building a better culture at your credit union?  Join us this September as we begin the next session in the Executive Ready series: Building a High-Performance, High-Engagement Culture.

About Karin Hurt and David Dye

Karin Hurt and David Dye help human-centered leaders resolve workplace ambiguity and chaos, so that they can drive innovation, productivity and revenue without burning out employees. As CEO and President of Let’s Grow Leaders, they are known for practical tools and leadership development programs that stick. Karin and David are the award-winning authors of five books including, Courageous Cultures: How to Build Teams of Micro-Innovators, Problem Solvers, and Customer Advocates and Winning Well: A Manager’s Guide to Getting Results-Without Losing Your Soul A former Verizon Wireless executive, Karin was named to Inc. Magazine’s list of great leadership speakers. David Dye is a former executive and elected official. Karin and David are committed to their philanthropic initiative, Winning Wells – building clean water wells for the people of Cambodia.