The word “sustainable” generates different images for different people. For some, it’s the responsible use of natural resources. For others, it’s using green building materials or perhaps employing responsible agriculture.
According to the Oxford Dictionary, sustainability is the ability to maintain at a certain rate or level. What does that mean for credit unions? Can credit union professionals employ a sustainable mindset to work smarter and drive better outcomes for all stakeholders?
For businesses, sustainable strategy requires organizations to be purpose-driven, values-based, and cooperative. The credit union movement leverages all three of these; however, this doesn’t mean every credit union is automatically fully leveraging sustainable business practices today. It does mean credit unions are on the right road, and perhaps, with an enhanced roadmap, can reach an even better destination tomorrow.
What kind of growth could your credit union experience if all its stakeholders truly understood how much “right thing” it does?
Purposeful work that is aligned with individual values is more meaningful, more impactful, and, quite frankly, more fun. I work harder for and devote more time and energy toward businesses whose purposes are aligned with what I value. I’m willing to pay a little more for products — whether eggs from humanely raised chickens or organic vegetables from sustainable, local farms — that come from purpose-driven, values-based companies that I know are “doing the right thing.”
If people are willing to pay more for a product that makes them feel good about doing the right thing, then what kind of growth could your credit union experience if all its stakeholders truly understood how much “right thing” it does? And, that they can save money by supporting their financial cooperative in doing the right thing?
Combining these two powerful motivators — feeling good about doing good and saving money — is a game-changer.
This might sound like I’m talking about telling your story — why credit unions do what they do — but sustainable business is bigger than storytelling. It’s about connecting all the dots for all your stakeholders every day.
Callahan recently launched a transformational course in sustainable strategy in collaboration with Harvard Business School Online. Sustainable Business Strategy with Rebecca Henderson renewed my enthusiasm for the cooperative principles of the credit union movement. It was a learning experience that truly resonated with me.
If your business is built on purpose and values, then living your values will ensure you make the right decisions to reach the right destination. What’s your sustainable business formula? Share it with another credit union — it’s that kind of cooperative spirit that will raise the tide and all credit unions with it.
Sustainable Business Strategy
Learn more about Sustainable Business Strategy with Rebecca Henderson, in collaboration with Harvard Business School online. The Callahan Academy combines Harvard teachings and credit union industry discussions to explore:
Business models that drive change.
Tactics that demonstrate the competitive advantages of being a purpose-driven firm.
Why collective efforts are important and how business can be a catalyst for system-level change.
What you can do to become a purpose-driven leader and how you can develop purpose-driven leaders within you organization.