From John: 3 Ways Partnership Is the New Leadership

June 2018: Vol 41 No 6
John Pembroke 
Working with fintechs, employees and other credit unions help drive organizational success.
three hands putting together three interlocking puzzle pieces

Is Partnership the New Leadership?” will be the focus of a session at CUES’ Execu/Net in August in Sedona, Ariz. When I reflected on this interesting question, I immediately thought of three ways that credit union executives are leveraging partnerships in their leadership. Which of these are you putting to work for your credit union?

1. Are you working with fintech companies? Many credit union leaders are, as detailed in the June CU Management magazine cover story, “The New Financial Ecosystem.” “The goal should be to find out how their (fintechs’) agility can help you as well as hurt you,” says CUES member David Pierce, CIE, in the article, “and put them on your side when it makes sense.” CIO at $2.3 billion Public Service Credit Union, Lone Tree, Colo., Pierce is no stranger to leading such innovation. He earned his CIE (Certified Innovation Executive) designation through his participation in Strategic Innovation Institute™. How to make worthy decisions about fintechs and other key trends is part of the curriculum of CUES’ Payments University as well. 

2. Are you teaming with employees more than ever? Both Melissa Marquez, CEO of $20 million Genesee Co-Op Federal Credit Union, Rochester, N.Y., and CUES member Lynette Smith, president/CEO of $115 million Washington Gas Light Federal Credit Union, Springfield, Va., reference creating flatter organizational structures and supporting more team work than ever in their contributions to our May 2018 Advancing Women digital-only publication. Leaders are also building longer training pipelines to partner with staff sooner on professional development and help their organizations avoid the talent shortage.  

3. Are you partnering with other credit unions? We find that credit union leaders are not only working together to form credit union service organizations, but also are open to working together on new kinds of mergers. For example, recent research by Stephen Morrissette finds that many credit union leaders see the potential benefits of forming credit union holding companies because they both foster economies of scale and preserve CUs’ unique, local bonds with members. Morrissette is adjunct associate professor of strategic management at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and lead faculty at CUES’ Strategic Growth Institute™.

Which of these three kinds of partnerships are serving your efforts to lead? What others have you found work well? I’d like to hear about them.

John Pembroke is president/CEO of CUES. Since joining the organization in May 2013 as chief operating officer, he has helped launch a new direction in CUES’ strategy, branding and culture. Pembroke has more than 20 years of experience in branding and financial services. He holds an MBA from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business and is a member of the board of the Goodman Community Center, Madison, Wis.

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