Thursday, May 24, 2012

Reach for the Stars – Who are your credit union’s best members? | NAFCU Services Blog

Unless you know who your best members are and why, it is impossible to develop a winning marketing and business strategy for your credit union. I thought it might be helpful to provide a structural framework in light of the veritable explosion in membership since Bank Transfer Day.
We’re going to have to define some terms before we get started. By ‘best members’ I don’t mean the ones who spend the most time in your branch or lobby, the ones who show up at your annual business meeting, the ones who send thank you notes all the time, the ones who bring brownies and cookies at the holidays to your tellers, or even the ones who have been with the credit union since before you were born.Reach for the Stars – Who are your credit union’s best members? | NAFCU Services Blog

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Why Do Boards Not See Non-Productive CEO's?

I’ve certainly seen this situation again and again over the years: the person leading, who may have been effective in the past, stops being effective. And not for just a few months: for years and years. And the board doesn’t step in to make a change. And I’ve thought – why does this happen? Do they not see it? Do they not care?

It comes down to three (3) unfortunate truths about boards, as far as I can tell:

- Like protects like: People on boards are, often, Department Directors, CEOs or ex-CEOs or in positions of management themselves.    Board members want to support and protect  CEOs because 1) they wouldn’t want their boards/bosses to fire them if they were in a similar situation, and 2) they like to think that their peers and buddies are doing a good job – even when they’re not.

- Hope Springs Eternal: When somebody used to be doing a good job, it’s easy for board members to convince themselves that he’ll start doing a good job againjust wait and see. After all they possibly interviewed him and selected him so how can they not be successfully.

- Stick to the Tried and True:  They’ve been board  members for 20 or 30 years, and they believe that the things they did successfully in 1970 or 1980 are still the right things to do. They watch their CEOs doing stuff that worked a decade or two ago, and they think, “Well, it will work eventually; he’s doing the things that work.” It’s simply not true. The game has changed, permanently – and will keep changing. Most industries are undergoing massive, disruptive, continuous change: consumer behavior and expectations; how the product delivery channel works; what drives pricing; how and where competitive threats arise – even employee expectations and response. If a CEO isn’t willing to get curious and give up some of their old ways and try truly fresh approaches…well, you know what happens. You will wither on the vine and die!

Friday, May 18, 2012

A Computer User’s Guide to Cloud Storage

Cloud storage, now offered by a number of companies in different price ranges, offers a substitute for physical storage, with the additional ability to synchronize across multiple devices......A Computer User’s Guide to Cloud Storage:

Thursday, May 17, 2012

How to Handle Q and A

How to Handle Q and A:
How do you handle Q and A?  The traditional way is to take the first 45 minutes of an hour to talk, and then stop, saying, "I'd be happy to answer your questions now."
What happens?  You handle a few good questions, and then the session starts to run out of gas.  Finally, there's one dumb or irrelevant last question, and the hour is mercifully over.
Think about it -- the last thing the audience remembers hearing is therefore not your brilliant words, but that last dumb question.
Instead, take questions at 20 minutes, and 40 minutes.  (Those timings happen to coincide with our natural attention span, which is about 20 minutes, give or take.)  Then, take one last question at 55 minutes and wrap up with the stirring words (on message) that you've been saving for the end.  Result?  Your listeners come away with your brilliant final thoughts echoing in their ears.
Much more effective.  But how do you handle those questions at 20 minutes and 40?  What if somebody in the 3rd row raises a hand and asks a question that, you're afraid, will take you a little off subject and put finishing on time in jeopardy.  What do you do?
Start by remembering why you're there to give a speech.  Not to hear yourself talk.  You could give a speech in the privacy of your own bathroom for that.  The point of public speaking is to communicate with a group of people.  So you haven't succeeded in that endeavor unless someone has heard and understood you.
The audience is all-important.  And when you think of it like that, why wouldn't you take the time to answer the question?
So don't worrytoo much about your agenda.  Do worry about how the speech is coming across, and what the audience is getting out of it.  If someone asks a question, answer it.  You should know your speech and your content so thoroughly that you can easily adjust on the fly to take into account your audience's feedback.
That said, you do have the right to sort through the questions and pass on the rude, the irrelevant, and the idiotic.  But never let on that you think a question is idiotic.  Just deal with it quickly and painlessly and move on.
Back in my teaching days at Princeton University, I was showing a videotape of Martin Luther King's I have a dream speech as an example of great rhetoric, brilliantly delivered.  The discussion moved on to Patrick Henry's Give me liberty or give me death speech.  A student raised his hand and asked, "Do you have any videotape of Patrick Henry?"
For a split second, I honestly didn't know what to say.  The guffaws of fellow students quickly tipped the hapless junior off, and he blushed bright red as he realized his error.  We moved on.  That student probably got a lifetime's education in a couple of seconds right then and there.
There are stupid questions, and you don't have to answer them all.  But you are there for the audience, and mostly it's your job to respect their reactions to your talk and respond accordingly.

How to Create a Short Speech

How to Create a Short Speech:
I tweeted recently that every speaker needs a 3-minute and a 20-minute version of her speech.  To that I would add that every speaker needs to know how to give a minute-long response, in answer to a question, for example, or for responding to the media. 

So how do you all of these well?  What are the pitfalls to avoid?  It can be surprisingly hard to say something interesting in a very short time, and to avoid running on at the mouth and saying too much.  What's the happy medium, and how do you think about it?

The minute speech is best handled as follows.  Decide what you're going to say, take a deep breath, and then give the headline.  "I don't think that mice should be allowed in the Vatican."  Then go on to give up to 3 supporting reasons, depending on your thinking and the time allowed.  Hygiene, worry about the destruction of precious manuscripts, and the eek factor during prayers.  Finally, finish off with a repetition of the headline:  "So that's why I think that mice should be banned from the Vatican."

When you've got more than 3 but less than 7 minutes, think in terms of problem-solution.  If you have a great story to begin the problem section, then do so, but don't allow it to take over the problem section entirely.  You need to spend half of your allotted time discussing the problem in as much detail as you can (which is not much).  Heretical mice are running amok throughout the Vatican.  This deplorable plague has led to illness, destruction of some of the Vatican's most precious artifacts, and the discomfort of many visitors and residents....About half way through your total time, switch to the solution and buttress that with as much logic and passion as you can muster.  I recommend beginning with an excommunication, followed by mice traps, poison, and the playing of Barry Manilow recordings in the basement....

That's really all there is to it.  Keep it simple.  If you want to conclude by describing the benefits of your solution, then go ahead, in a sentence or two.
Repetition and simplicity will help you keep your remarks organized and under control, and will help your listeners follow you.

The same advice holds for the 20-minute version.  You basically have to remove half of the detail that makes for a solid hour-long speech.  And watch your stories, because they will loom much larger in a 20-minute précis of your speech than in the full version.  You’ll need to shorten those too, without cutting the essential detail that enables your audience to make sense of the story. 

A good way to prepare a 20-minute speech is to create the logical ‘spine’ of your full speech – the step-by-step logic of the speech that explains the thought structure, shorn of the detail.  It should take the form of a series of declarative sentences.  Then, once you’ve  worked out the logic, add back in just enough detail to fill the allotted time.
You'll want to have these versions of your presentation on hand, ready to go, for times when your full speech is too long.   If you're a professional speaker, it's part of the pro's arsenal to be ready to give the shorter versions in order to be ready for any occasion.