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Linking Purpose to Strategy

Working for an enterprise with a higher sense of purpose has become a recent rallying cry from both employees and employers. Patagonia declares its purpose as "in business to save our home planet", Tesla describes their purpose as "to accelerate the world's transition to sustainable energy."

The benefits of focusing on the higher purpose of work are many. It will help attract younger talent, function as a guide in shaping hard decisions, and increase employee satisfaction and fulfillment, leading to increased retention and productivity. The ultimate test of an organization's purpose is whether it improves how the business operates.

Fortunately, Credit Unions don't have to look very hard for their purpose. As mission-based financial institutions, they have clarity on their purpose, helping their member. Measuring it may be a bit more challenging.

Here are a few suggestions for bringing purpose clarity found in the April/ May HBR issue on Making Purpose Real

Link purpose to strategy

A credit union has to focus on being a successful financial intermediary as a financial institution. Still, as an organization driven by its mission to serve its members, it needs to measure and align how it improves its members' lives. This starts with a member-centric strategy aligning strategic efforts to focus on member-based success metrics. These metrics are in addition to the financial institution metrics.

HBR offers to use the following questions to help reach a consensus on measurement and strategic alignment.

Do we deliver value to our members while also being an attractive employer, partner, and corporate citizen?

Does how we do business create value for society in ways unusual for our industry?

Does our Credit Union Culture not only reflect its purpose but can also articulate it?

Purpose is not a marketing function.

Create a cross-functional team that will not only break silos but helps align the organization in its authentic pursuit of purpose.

According to HBR, the full potential of purpose is achieved only when it's aligned with a company's value proposition and creates shared aspirations both internally and externally. At its best, it's the most powerful mechanism for generating buy-in across stakeholders.


Where can I fill my data knowledge gaps?

With a stop at the

Data Education Center.

We believe that data transformation doesn't have to feel overwhelming or expensive to be impactful. After helping over 600 credit union leaders launch their data journeys, we have identified several consistent knowledge gaps. We have worked hard to fill these gaps with a variety of educational artifacts:


Looking for more insights on data and how you can leverage it to transform your members' lives?

Check out Big Data/Big Climb. Written for credit unions by a credit union expert, this book has been hailed as a "must-have". The book cuts through techno-jargon and translates data transformation concepts into a playbook filled with real-world examples, assessment guides, and other tools needed to reduce member friction, analyze actual competition, and identify disruption to improve the lives of its members and gain competitive advantage.

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