Goals Only Exist if You’re Working to Make Them Real

Leadership is not just an idea – it’s action and participation, and a fundamental requirement for organizational success. Likewise, great leaders aren’t simply born. They are made, through hard work and dedication. The Foundation is committed to the idea that leadership is essential to the growth and success of the Credit Union Industry, and that together, we must own the responsibility of nurturing, growing, and supporting our leaders today if we want to reap the benefits of their leadership tomorrow.

To that end, the Foundation supports three programs specially designed to provide credit union professionals with intensive, practical, growth oriented leadership training programs: The Chief Executive Institute, The Executive Leadership Program, and The Leadership Institute. If you’re not familiar with these programs, I invite you to discover more about them below. In addition, you will find information about how to apply, or nominate a co-worker for acceptance into a program.

The Chief Executive Institute

The Chief Executive Institute is an executive-level course designed to help leaders create growth in a complex and ever-changing marketplace. The intensive curriculum is spread out over for five classroom sessions plus two one-on-one coaching and mentoring sessions. Each classroom session meets for two days with a networking dinner in the evening.

Using the Baldrige Excellence Framework, a proven system for creating organizational excellence, the primary focus of instruction is on actual workplace application, not just theory. Rather than roleplaying through made-up situations, Institute workshops use proven methods to help executives work through real challenges. It gives leaders a way to evaluate, develop and change organizational systems and processes – to harness plans, processes, measures, and actions – for maximum value and results. 

The Chief Executive Institute is not about learning leadership skills, it’s about becoming an agent of change and transforming the way your credit union operates and serves its members. For each participant, the program offers the structure to help transform their credit union into a dynamic, member-centric organizations with greater focus on its heart and soul: their mission, vision and values.

If you want 2017 to be a year of transformation for your credit union, I encourage you to apply for this incredible program. Please visit the Mountain West Credit Union Association’s website for additional information and application instructions.

Executive Leadership Program (ELP)

Credit Union CEO’s know that few things are more important to the future of their Credit Union than the development of future leaders. It’s not enough to have great leaders at the helm today. There must also be a new generation of leaders on their heels – learning, growing and preparing to someday take their place.

The central focus of the Executive Leadership Program is about effectively preparing promising leaders for tomorrow’s challenges and providing them with the tools they need to pursue their passion for serving members. The program is structured to provide participants with a clear path towards leadership development that includes the development of key leadership skills, operational training, and application of credit union philosophy.

Now in it’s 5th year, the Executive Leadership Program follows an intensive five-year curriculum that includes the Credit Union Leadership Institute, Development Educator (DE) Training, Western CUNA Management School, and one-to-one mentoring and executive coaching.

This year the Foundation will select three more scholars to begin the journey.  The nomination process includes the submission of a nomination form, a letter of recommendation, a set of assessments, and interviews for finalists.  Once selected, the scholars will join the ranks of this high-powered training group and will receive more than $20,000 of funding as they prepare themselves to become a senior level credit union leader.

Learn more on the Foundation website about this exclusive program and how you can nominate a candidate in your credit union. The deadline for nomination is December 2, 2016.

MWCUA CU Leadership Institute

The Mountain West Credit Union Association Leadership Institute is a series of four 2-day workshops conducted over a 7 to 8-month period that includes team and group projects, leadership seminars, and practical application exercises. The entire program is designed to expose future credit union leaders to the concepts and principles of both general and organizational leadership. Participants dive into real life case studies and are charged to work with their peers to come up with practical solutions. This equips them with the knowledge, experience and confidence to step into roles of greater responsibility and facilitates deep relationships that enhance and strengthen the credit union community.

Participants in the Leadership Institute include a diverse group of credit union professionals with a wide variety of experience and expertise. It’s a unique opportunity to learn new things, refine current skills, become more self aware of who you are as a leader, and enhance your tool kit to where you can only succeed. It’s not just an opportunity to grow professionally. Participants experience personal development that supports their ability to be a better leader throughout their lives as a whole.

Nominations are now open for next year’s Leadership Institute. For application information, please visit the Association Website.

Leadership is not a group hug, sing-along session designed to promote warm feelings, peace, and harmony within the workplace.

Instead, leadership is an action-packed, hands-on effort that frequently includes hard choices, ethical dilemmas, solid people skills, and an unwavering adherence to strong core values. Leadership is about earning trust and respect through modeled behaviors. It’s about inspiring people to reach their potential and achieve the vision.

Leaders recognize the value that employees bring to the organization, harness their potential, and guide them towards achieving a well-communicated vision. More often than not, it’s a team effort that involves more than just faithful followers, but also includes peers and superiors within a collaborative workplace environment of continuous improvement, growth, and change. That’s what all three of these programs are about.

Whether you are a seasoned CEO concerned about the future leaders of your credit union, a young professional at the beginning of your career, or someone who falls somewhere in between, we invite you to consider whether these programs are the right move for you – or for someone you work with. The credit union movement is important to our future. If we want to see it grow and thrive, we must invest wholeheartedly in our leaders.

About Dan Finerty

Dan Finerty is the Director of Marketing at the Mountain West Credit Union Association, a Credit Union champion, a Credit Union Development Educator (CUDE), and an award-winning marketer. Dan has over 14 years of marketing experience in communications, retail, packaged goods, and, of course, Credit Unions. He believes that Credit Unions have an incredible story to tell and works with some of the brightest Credit Union professionals to help promote Credit Unions to the public. Dan holds two Bachelor’s of Science in Marketing and in Management. He is also a swell guy.

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