Find your remarkable-ness

A great story hit my e-mail recently called "Defining yourself in two seconds: an inspiring proposal." It challenges companies to state what makes them remarkable in seven words. Yes, only seven words. But the bigger challenge is in the word "remarkable."

We tell clients constantly that they have to be different. We ask them to find one thing that they do that is different from other financial institutions.

Different is what people remember. Different stands out! Different should be fairly easy, because it's something everyone learned from Sesame Street. You remember the song—"one of these things is not like the other, one of these things just isn't the same..." Catchy tune, yes?

But remarkable?! That's "different" with a little spice thrown in. That's "different" ramped up and fuel-injected to the nth power!

If you're a credit union employee reading this, you may be leaning back, smiling, secure in your remarkable-ness. But here are two credit union website quotes. I've seen this in umpteen different ways, so I can vouch that they're fairly representative:

"We offer members innovative financial services including chequing, savings, registered plans... "

And this gem:

"Our Credit Union is large enough to keep up with technological advances such as the Internet..."

I'm going to go out on a limb and say this is just outdated website copy. But for anyone who is puzzled, please read the next sentence carefully. Chequing accounts and the internet are not remarkable. Neither are loans and mortgages, nor ATM machines.

But there is hope.

Somewhere in your credit union is a little piece of remarkable waiting to be found. You probably walk by it every day, not seeing it for what it is. Maybe it's a chequing account that has a unique feature that helps save time, money or more? Maybe it's a philosophy that needs to trickle down from board and executive level so that it could ignite staff and member engagement?

Next time you walk by it, stop. Pick it up, dust it off, and give it a little love. Show it to somebody. What do they think? Does the light it shines make other things in your credit union look a little different? What if those other things were polished up so they shone in the same way? What if this led to an underlying truth about your credit union and how it does business? What if this became a mantra that your staff and members could believe in and be a part of? See how one small thing can snowball?

Call me an idealist, but I believe people want to be a part of something remarkable, even small "r" remarkable. You just need help to help to see it through all the ordinary.

Tim