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Ready for Takeoff

The plane truth about dealing with adversity and other issues.

February 06, 2012
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Those of us flying Atlanta to Minneapolis experienced a mini-crisis last week when the “check engine” light came on. We deplaned for repairs.

We paced nervously, awaiting news. The flight crew was replaced; too tired.

We waited.

My new friend, a delightfully outspoken librarian from Minnesota, encouraged me to consult with Gate Guy as I had a tight connection to Madison. Gate Guy told me if we left by 8:00, I’d make it.

We waited.

We departed at 8:20.

The “strangers” around me empathized as I would need to run like the wind to make the connection. The Southern Gentleman across the aisle whipped out his terminal map and plotted my course. The young engineer lady next to me soothed, and my librarian friend, advised, “OK, Lora—don’t ‘go librarian’ now. You let them have some of that Midwestern gusto! I’ll help you...”

Lora Kloth is a research librarian at CUNA.
Lora Kloth is a research librarian at CUNA.

After we stopped, my demure pal bellowed, “Let her through! She has a five minute connection!”

I bolted, cheers and encouragement in my wake. My 3.5” heels pounded as I ran through the terminal. I arrived wheezing at the gate. The plane? Gone. Devastating!

This frustrating experience is a great example of how in times of turmoil, strangers band together with good effect. I had an action plan, reassurance, and the assistance of my cohorts. “Strangers” felt my pain. I felt the love.

Consider your disaster plan. If service is disrupted to your membership, will they “feel the love?” Do your employees work together in a crisis, even as “strangers”? Have you considered emotional responses of troubled membership? How will you support a stressed staff?

Let’s take off with this week’s research.

Fraud flies high in “Do Newspaper Articles on Card Fraud Affect Debit Card Usage?” by the European Central Bank. “The results show that newspaper articles that somehow make mention of the phenomenon of skimming fraud significantly affect the number of debit card payments.”

How are fraud threats shaping your credit union?

Next: Employee issues

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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 (www.appreciationatwork.com/assess) 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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