Opportunity of Disruption: The Credit Union Amygdala.


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Biologists describe our amygdala as that little fight or flight button submerged deep within our neurological makeup. Stress triggers this survival response, where we evade or overpower danger. From a gaggle of cavepeople clubbing for food, we have evolved into a sophisticated society where these triggers are now experienced in daily business life. When our organizations are hit with a sudden trauma or expeditious encounter, disruption becomes the default setting. Disruption, though unpleasant, poses a radical rift in tradiditonal business cycles, forcing change. Organizations are thus tasked to react with implementing mandatory adaptations, posing unique opportunities for growth and novice ventures. 

When we think about disruptive business models, we many times assume they are deliberate strategies crafted in executive masterminds, to exploit an opportunity or create veracious demand by displacing an existing status quo. Disruptive crisis, however unforeseen, creates other opportunities for tenured models to be replaced with operational modifications. This kind of economic disruption is unique in that it (a) becomes the new requirement for business survival, and (b) lacks premeditation. Executives don’t decide whether to enact operational changes and create policy amendments while in the midst of a crisis, and yet much like voluntary disruption, these new tactics yield new opportunities.

As credit unions ride the waves of our current pandemic, forging a fresh strategy elicits both innovation and cooperation among sister organizations, creating a collaborative scaffolding across the entire industry. By focusing on core strengths and sharing new needs with complementary firms, credit unions may ignite industrial learning and elevate their primary and secondary capacities, strengthening the resilience of the industry as a whole when it is time to emerge post COVID. 

Gene Fredriksen, Principal Cybersecurity Consultant at Pure IT Credit Union Services, elaborates on the opportunities hidden in crisis strategy in his latest Forbes article, Working Together Apart, A Pandemic Response for Credit Unions.

Fredriksen outlines how credit unions can take this pandemic disruption as an opportunity to elicit a robust service strategy by realigning traditional membership pathways. Using a strategic timeline, operational steps initiated to circumvent brick and mortar restrictions, (social distancing, closed lobbies, etc.) evolve from temporary survival tactics into long-term, methodical and cohesive business strategies.

This robust approach starts with addressing immediate credit union survival needs, and churns them into a long-term permanent initiative that encompasses the entire organization, from the people, processes and technologies which enable the service mission.

Fredriksen advocates credit unions  adopt a continuous improvement cycle and introduces the following framework: Asses, Prioritize, and Act, your way through crisis.

“Ultimately, these efforts will change the face of how a credit union can serve its local community,” Fredriksen (2020).

This mechanism, (the Asses, Prioritize and Act Cycle) layers triage steps into a long-term business plan, using each initial move to sculpt the overarching goal; inevitably disrupting the traditional status quo. Disruption has forced a paradigm shift where credit unions can tactically maximize their service mission by changing the traffic flow, and innovating financial services to reach members and support staff on a fully remote platform.


To read Gene’s full article please visit: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2020/05/04/working-apart-together-a-pandemic-response-for-credit-unions/#50ef60b17d9e



Fredriksen, Gene. “Council Post: Working Apart Together: A Pandemic Response For Credit Unions.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 4 May 2020, www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2020/05/04/working-apart-together-a-pandemic-response-for-credit-unions/#50ef60b17d9e.

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