Of Ragnars and Other Things

by Michael Cochrum
Of Ragnars and Other Things

Each New Year brings the opportunity for us to start fresh and set new goals. People often mark the occasion with resolutions of change and commitment to personal improvement. Yet, by February many have forgotten the optimism that the New Year brought, once the realities of life have reminded us of our limitations.

The same is true in business, as it is in our personal life.  Most business leaders spend much of the 4th quarter each year taking measurements and making educated guesses about what the next year holds.  Goals are set and plans are put into place to accomplish many things, but then reality sets in, and the “labor of work” tends to derail us.  Now is a good time to stop for a moment and check where we are on our path to accomplishing those goals for 2016.

You may say it is too early to draw conclusions about what 2016 will eventually bring. However, there is little doubt that many credit unions have set goals for improvement over the next eleven months.  But the question is, what are we doing to impact that change and reach those goals?  Like the individual who set a goal to run a marathon this year, we know that no race is ever run without taking “the first step.”  So then, what first steps have you taken toward those growth goals?  Certainly, your plan isn’t simply to keep doing what you have always been doing and hope to reach your goal.

In April, a team of CU Direct’s employees will be participating in a Ragnar. A Ragnar is a 24-hour relay race; and in this case, it is run between Los Angeles and San Diego.  This will be my first such race.  Earlier this month, Brit Barker, the VP of CU Solutions and fearless race team leader reminded the team that we have 60 days left to prepare for the race.  Each team member must be able to run the equivalent of two, 10K legs within the time allotted.

I’ve been running the equivalent of a 5k at least four times a week for the last three years – but not at race speed. I had (kind of) put off training for the Ragnar in hopes that something would ultimately prevent me from competing in the race. But the reminder was a wake-up call for me and, alas, with little hope of coming up with a viable excuse, I began my training.  Imagine my surprise when I learned that, even though running is a regular part of my life, I couldn’t just increase my distance from 3.2 miles to 6.4 overnight.  So far, I’ve managed to get to 4.5 miles at least once a week.

Sometimes reaching those annual goals in business can be like training for a big race. When we set the goal it seemed reasonable and attainable in the time allotted.  But then we often realize time is slipping away and we’ve not really done anything to make the improvements necessary to achieve the goal.  Maybe your goal was to increase efficiencies or improve the member experience at your credit union.  Perhaps your goal was to improve loan quality or optimize loan pricing to achieve higher yields.  Or maybe your goal is to further increase loan growth.  I have a question for you.  What have you done in the last 30 days to achieve those goals?  Today may be the day to take that first step and CU Direct’s Advisory Services can help you realize those goals.

About the Author

Michael Cochrum
Michael Cochrum is the Executive Lending Advisor for CU Direct.