Management

Spirit of Cooperation Led to Success

'Cooperation has always been our strength, but it requires work.'

February 06, 2014
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In recognition of his exceptional leadership and numerous contributions to the credit union movement, the National Credit Union Foundation is presenting Jim McCormack with a 2014 Herb Wegner Memorial Award for Lifetime Achievement.

McCormack is the retired president/CEO of the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association.

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Credit Union Magazine recently chatted with McCormack about the award and his career.

Q What does the Wegner Award mean to you?

A The award is not for me, but rather for all of Pennsylvania’s credit unions and what we’ve accomplished together.

It’s important to recognize our spirit of cooperation and Pennsylvania credit unions’ service to members and consumers.

It’s especially meaningful since in the late 1970s with the National Youth Involvement Board I actually had the distinct pleasure of meeting Herb Wegner in his office. So, I guess I’ve come full circle.

Q Looking back at your career, what makes you proud?

A Three specific achievements come to mind: 

  1. Starting the league’s credit card program through its CUSO to enable credit unions of virtually all sizes to bring plastics to members in order to effectively compete;
  2. Participating in ATM networks in the state during the early 1980s that allowed credit unions to utilize that new delivery channel; and
  3. Developing our state’s credit union foundation and service center network of shared branching.

Q What was the most challenging issue you had to deal with during your CU career?

A There have been many, but none were insurmountable because we were able to overcome them by working together and cooperating.

Q What’s your best leadership advice?

A Never take for granted that people work together.

Cooperation has always been our strength, but it requires work. It’s important to remember that we are a movement, not an industry.

And lastly, ensure that young people are involved and grasp credit union philosophy.

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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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