Riveting Presentations Highlight Operations Council Conference

Attendees learn benefits of ‘humanizing’ their business.

November 09, 2011
KEYWORDS conference , sales , service
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By Steve Langley

Action-packed sessions, dynamic speakers, incredible networking opportunities all topped off with an outstanding gallery of sponsor partners is how I would describe this years’ CUNA Operations, Sales, and Service Council Conference in San Antonio.

This well-organized event offered quality educational and motivational sessions to help attendees return to their organizations with new tools to make a difference within our discipline.

For the second year in a row, we co-located our conference with our colleagues from the CUNA Technology Council, doubling the bang for the buck with twice as many breakout sessions for attendees to choose from.

Our preconference workshop included a field trip to Harland Clarke, where participants were introduced to the dynamics of the company’s high-tech call center as well as many other aspects of the operations of this organization.

Our keynote speaker this year was bestselling author and business solutions expert Tim Sanders, who’s latest book is “Today We Are Rich.”

Steve Langley
Steve Langley

Tim spoke of the concept of humanizing our business and how our people are our most important asset. He gave us some great tips and tools for our leadership tool kits!

We had many first-timers at this years’ event, and as the conference progressed I did some pulse checks to see how they were enjoying it. I received many great comments from these folks and you could see it in their faces that they were taking it all in!

One of my team members attended for the first time as well and couldn’t stop talking about how much he enjoyed it! Awesome!

We had a series of breakout sessions as well, inclusive of many sales and service as well as operational topics. I sat in on a session led by Lynn Giuliani, president of Progressions Inc., covering the ingredients for a successful sales culture. Outstanding!

We had the privilege of having Mark Sievewright, president of Fiserv’s Credit Union Solutions Group, lead a general session about leadership strategies for a new era. He did a fantastic job.

Some of the highlights for me this year were the times I was able to spend with colleagues learning more about them and their organizations. I sat in on a café conversation (where we grab a box lunch and have some great discussions) about looking for alternative sources of income.

Jennifer Lehn, executive vice president of Numerica Credit Union and our immediate past chair, facilitated this discussion and I definitely walked away with several take-aways.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention a great presentation led by Jim Stickley, cofounder of TraceSecurity. He shared insights to keep our organizations safe from criminal masterminds. Wow, was that an eye opening event! Thanks Jim!

I can think of no better way of ending a great conference than with our industry friend Jeff Rendall! Jeff gave a riveting presentation about leading change and evaluating how we do things within our organizations. I especially enjoyed all of his statistics and research findings that he shared with us all.

Well, it’s all over now until next year. Believe it or not, your 2012 Conference Committee is already hard at work preparing for another outstanding event.

We have been scoping out speakers and have already secured our location for next year: The Cosmopolitan in sunny Las Vegas. While we haven’t hammered out all the details, we know it’s going to be next October.

Cheers to a conference well done and here is looking forward to an exciting 2012! Until then!

STEVE LANGLEY is vice president of sales, service, and training for Travis Credit Union, Vacaville, Calif., and vice chair of the CUNA Operations, Sales, and Service Council.

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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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