What happens when employees YouTube the boss

I really didn’t think the social media bunch at the credit union would actually go ahead and produce a video about me, but they did. It is humbling to say the least. But beyond the clip it got me thinking — would this have happened 25 year ago? Would it be allowed to happen now in certain credit unions or businesses?

The transparency, or whatever you want to call it, of social media has made some significant changes in various stratas of society and definitely between various demographics of the citizenry. It has a “no prisoners” approach and no matter how much some would love to stuff the Genie back in the bottle it doesn’t look like it will be returning to the old way anytime soon. This morning the Globe and Mail had an article on how the TV networks and cable companies were complaining about Netflix and that they were not contributing to Canadian content. These were the same guys that were trying a year ago to get out of paying for Canadian content and now they use it as a means to try and stop Netflix. They forget to realize that Netflix offers something they don’t – complete choice of what to watch and when to watch it.

Being part of a financial cooperative that creates a culture that gives staff the ability to produce a clip about their boss for the world to see is extremely satisfying. We can talk about transparency, openess, relationships, empowerment or whatever buzz word you want, the fact remains, people have to be able to do something they see as positive, fun, and an extension of what they do in their everyday lives at work. That’s regenerative. That’s intentional. That’s socially responsible and sustainable. That is this new world emerging as we speak. The byproducts are a healthy and well run credit union.

Thanks gang. And by the way I do leave the toilet seat down. Leaving it up is nothing more than a freudian slip.

When credit unions change their names

First and foremost this entry is not meant to offend any credit union. What a credit union chooses is their domain, not mine.

In a recent issue of Business in Vancouver (a weekly business journal produced in Vancouver B.C.) there is a section titled ‘Hats Off’ which lists donations by various businesses to worthy charities. This week caught my eye. Listed were three credit unions. But to the untrained eye they were not ‘credit unions’ they were ‘Financial’, ‘Savings’ and ‘Financial Group’. So what happened here?

In the Lower Mainland of B.C. are a large number of very large credit unions. In fact the total of these large credit unions amounts to an excess of 60% of the total deposits for all credit unions in the province of B.C. It runs into the billions of dollars. The competition is fierce amongst all financial institutions and there is this marketing mantra that says any FI needs to differentiate itself in a crowded marketplace. That mantra has carried into the credit union system by pushing some credit unions to have their names presented in the public arena sans ‘credit union’. This supposedly is the way to be different.

The problem that I see is even if I am not a member of a credit union I do have some remote idea of what it is. But do I know what a ‘Financial’, a ‘Savings’ or a ‘Financial Group’ is? That is even more confusing.

I would ask any group of credit unions to consider what they would do in a similar position. Would you keep ‘credit union’ or drop it? It seems once you drop it you become something entirely different. Don’t ask me what, because as noted, it becomes confusing.