'New System Under Construction'

Core conversions require top-notch communication and planning.

January 21, 2011
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CU Mag: What are some unique conversion experiences you’ve had?

McKay: One of our scarier moments was during an implementation in Illinois several years ago. We were just getting ready to go live, the brand new computer had just been brought up, and everything was in place—when we had a tornado.

A tornado had touched down within a 10-mile radius and the sirens went off. It makes you realize some things aren’t in your control in terms of timing one of those very scheduled events.

The tornado jumped over us and we got back to work after a long hour and 15 minutes.

Berdan: One credit union applied a new software patch to its network that shut down part of the conversion process. You’re going through enough that weekend—you don’t need to apply a new network operating system patch as part of that process.

We didn’t know whether the glitch was on our side or the network operating system. It took several hours to determine it was the latter.

McKay: The project manager of both organizations should review what other strategic projects the credit union might have that could impact the conversion. These can take up to nine months depending on the project scope.

You can’t expect everything to wait during this time, but it’s good to know how other projects might affect the conversion schedule.

• Credit Union Magazine's 2011 Information Systems Guide highlights the credit union movement's top core processors and their systems' features and functions. Check it out now.

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Great article! Unfortunately, most employees don’t feel valued or appreciated by their supervisors or employers. In fact, research has shown that the predominant reason team members quit their jobs is because they don’t feel valued. This is in spite of the fact that employee recognition programs have proliferated in the workplace – over 90% of all organizations in the U.S. has some form of employee recognition activities in place. But most employee recognition programs are viewed with skepticism and cynicism – because they aren’t viewed as being genuine in their communication of appreciation. Getting the “employee of the month” award, receiving a certificate of recognition, or a “Way to go, team!” email just don’t get the job done. How do you communicate authentic appreciation? We have found people have different ways that they want to be shown appreciation, and if you don’t communicate in the language of appreciation important to them, you essentially “miss the mark”. Additionally, employees need to receive recognition more than once a year at their performance review. Otherwise, they view the praise as “going through the motions”. A third component of authentic appreciation is that the communication has to be about them personally – not the department, not their group, but something they did. Finally, they have to believe that you mean what you say. How you treat them has to match the words you use. If you are not sure how your team members want to be shown appreciation, the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory ( will identify the language of appreciation and specific actions preferred by each employee. You then can create a group profile for your team, so everyone knows how to encourage one another. Remember, employees want to know that they are valued for what they contribute to the success of the organization. And communicating authentic appreciation in the ways they desire it can make the difference between keeping your quality team members or having a negative work environment that everyone wants to leave. Paul White, Ph.D., is the co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace with Dr. Gary Chapman.

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