Act Like a Shark: Keep Moving

Businesses are like sharks: If they don’t move, they die.

April 06, 2011
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What business are you really in?

In the financial services industry, the logical reasons members turn to us—our products, services, and convenience—are just the beginning of potential “relationships.”

Financial services are a commodity where, to a degree, certain products, services, and conveniences are expected.

For years, those in the fast-food industry thought they sold food. Then McDonald’s declared people weren't buying hamburgers, they were buying an experience.

Burger King disagreed. They knew they had a unique point of difference and pummeled McDonald's with, “We're flame broiled, not fried.” But Burger King's sales didn't increase.

Why? Because McDonald's was right: Fast-food hamburger restaurants aren’t in the burger business., a billion-dollar online shoe retailer, understands that customers don’t come to them to buy shoes. Rather, customers look to Zappos to solve problems, which is exactly what they do while having a ton of fun.

And let’s remember the words of Henry Ford: “If I'd listened to customers, I'd have given them a faster horse.”

Ponder this: Are you fulfilling members' needs or fulfilling their dreams? Do you know the difference?

Dare to fail to succeed

Few phobias are more powerful and widespread than the fear of failure. But consider that:

  • America’s best pro basketball teams lose the basketball every three minutes without taking a shot;
  • The world champion in baseball has to win only 57% of its championship games; and
  • Golfing legend Ben Hogan once said that in 18 holes, he usually hit two or three balls exactly as planned.

If you're doing anything worthwhile, you'll encounter failure. Understanding this will make it easier to move forward.

Make a move to do something. Monitor the results. Make adjustments along the way.

If you don’t succeed that time, simply click “reset” and move forward with more experience.

Ponder this: Will you dare to fail to pave the way for success?

Next: Just keep swimming

Be flexible with change

Marcy Stark
April 06, 2011 12:51 pm
Great article. It's important to move forward, make decisions, and execute new ideas to grow and survive in the financial arena. The key is not to depend on what we've always done but be flexible and ready for change.

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Ken Schroeder, CBCP, VP Business Continuity, Southeast Corporate
April 20, 2011 10:38 am
Remember--to be successful: Maintain a Rigid State of Flexibility

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April 20, 2011 11:22 am
Wonderful article Michelle. I started in the credit union industry in 1997 in the middle of HR 1151 – even with all the uncertainty surrounding us, we managed to keep moving. Perseverance and innovation were the driving factors that helped us to do more with less. Over the past year, I have seen that same creativity reignited. Credit union marketers and business development professionals are working harder than ever. Just looking at this year’s CUNA Diamond award winners is a testament to the amazing work that can be accomplished even in times of adversity. Congratulations to you and to all who are “fulfilling dreams.”

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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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