by Ron Daly
I'm no Brother Grimm or Mother Goose or any other storyteller by trade, but I do have a little fable I'd love to share. It's about a group of bankers (or "credit-unioneers", in this case) that were sailing a large boat down a river.
The crew all worked very well together, but one day the first mate noticed something was out of the ordinary. For some reason, the ship was lower in the water than it had been the day before. The first mate called the rest of the crew together.
"We've got a problem," he said. "For some reason, the ship is lower in the water than it was a day ago..."
"Nonsense!" cried the helmsman. "This ship is sailing as high and fast as it ever was."
"I don't know...I think we should check for any holes in the boat."
After several hours of deliberation, the crew split up, searched the ship and found the hole. They reconvened on the deck.
"Well, we need to plug the hole," said the first mate.
"Now, now, let's not get in a big hurry here...that's going to take a lot of time and energy. Do we have what it takes?" said the watchman.
"Yeah, and who's going to pay for all this?" said the helmsman.
"You know, I'm not entirely convinced this is that big of a problem. That hole's been there, what, one whole day and we still haven't sunk?" said the Captain.
The first mate was frustrated. He stomped his feet and huffed and puffed, insisting they had to act on the problem immediately. Finally, he got the crew to (reluctantly) agree to work on the issue. After a few hours of cobbling, they came up with a giant wad of chewing gum. When the gum gave way, they put their heads together yet again and came up with a big bag of corks to plug the hole. When the corks proved too loose, they settled on a broken barrel. They patched up the hole with several planks from the barrel which stopped the water from coming in and grew and shrunk with the other wood on the boat.
As the crew observed their handy-work and congratulated themselves on a job well done, they noticed something very strange was happening. The sound of loud, rushing water echoed inside the hull. The crew cautiously peeked out of the porthole window and saw a large, rushing waterfall - and noticed they were only seconds away from the edge. With everyone's resources devoted to fixing the hole, there was no navigation, no steering, no planning, no nothing...
And then the ship went over the waterfall.
I 'm pretty sure you get the point. Plugging one "hole" with any given technology only solves that problem. If there's no strategy for electronic users and mobile members, you're going over the falls. Arguing internally about whether or not technological steps forward can be taken or should be taken? That's quibbling. The question that should always be asked: "will this step forward be a step forward for members, too?"
I'll be conducting a webinar on Wednesday, June 11 at 2pm ET in conjunction with CUES. It's called:
Won't you join us? We'll be talking about all the ways credit unions can enhance their electronic strategy and keep the ship sailing for years to come. Sign up today as a CUES member or register as a guest - the webinar is open to all. I hope to see you there.