Castles and Credit Unions

This past weekend, I was building a castle with my 3 year old daughter, Leah.  Yes, building castles with her lego “blockies” (as she calls them) is one of her favorite activities.  And I’ll admit – I enjoy it about as much as she does.  We take great care when we’re building these architectural masterpieces.  We build one “blockie” at a time and make sure that the right ones are chosen for the right places.  It’s a process….one that requires great precision.

Usually when we are done building the castle, the two of us sit there and admire our work.  We marvel at the craftsmanship, intricacy, and beauty.  Leah claps her hands, smiles, and proudly announces, “We did it!”  This happens every time.

And then something else happens….every time.  Leah quickly gets bored with the castle and abruptly announces, “I knock it down!” and proceeds to dismantle the castle with the kind of fierce determination that would befit an actual wrecking crew. What took minutes and minutes to build is destroyed in a matter of seconds.  Oh the humanity!

A credit union is similar in that it usually takes a great deal of effort, precision, and dedication to build a worthwhile reputation.  This process can take several years and sometimes longer.  But, just like the “blockie” castle, what took a long time to build can come crashing down very quickly.  Unfortunately, a credit union’s good name can be tarnished by a variety of things- bad service, unattractive product offerings, old technology, etc.  And once things start to crumble, it is often very difficult to stop the destruction.

But the good news is that there are things you can do to protect a good reputation and minimize the possibility of any kind of collapse.  Things like providing outstanding service, training your staff, setting realistic goals, writing an action plan, executing the plan, and measuring results are tactics that always work.  So let’s concentrate on these things!  And remember that even if mistakes are made, they can be fixed and used as learning opportunities.

After all, it is possible to rebuild….but when rebuilding, make sure to take measures to prevent another collapse in the future.

Now, if only I would take my own advice when building the castles with my little girl…..

“Can we build it again, Daddy?” Leah asks.  My heart melts and we begin to build another castle.


About Your Full Potential, LLC

I am the President of Your Full Potential, LLC and the Founder of ABSURD! Leadership. I am a professional speaker and have addressed thousands of people throughout the United States and internationally on the topics of leadership, sales, service, business development, marketing, and strategy.
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4 Responses to Castles and Credit Unions

  1. Mark Arnold says:


    Once again, another great post. For credit unions wanting to rebuild their castles (or re-brand themselves) they should read Onward by Howard Schultz. It is one of the best business books I’ve read in the last several years. It is the story of how Starbucks fought for its life without losing its soul.



  2. Karyn Gonyea says:


    Great post. Having built a few similar castles with my son, I feel your pain. And I have seen first hand how quickly a reputation can be ruined that took years to build. But through this same analogy, I see the possibility to recreate who or what we are as credit unions. If the castle is crumbling, it gives us an opportunity to step up and build it back up even better and more grand than it was before. We just have to see the opportunity in adversity.


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