How Executive Legacy Planning Can Benefit Your Credit Union Today

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How Executive Legacy Planning Can Benefit Your Credit Union Today

Legacy planning for executives is the process of identifying and preparing for what’s next following their career, whether that’s retirement, board service, consulting, or another interest. However, many credit union executives focused on day-to-day operations may not prioritize this planning, so it’s not uncommon for executives and CEOs to wait until their retirement is imminent to begin their post-career planning. Is this the right time to start this process? Could they be missing unexpected opportunities and insight that could benefit their organizations even before they leave?

Doug welcomes Maurice Smith, CEO of Local Government Federal Credit Union, who has more than 43 years of experience serving credit unions. Also joining the discussion are returning guests Anne Sample and Patty Hamm of Navigate Forward. Their firm provides highly customized support to senior executives in career transition, planning change in the future, or seeking board service, i.e., finding their passion, path, and place in the business community. They talk about Maurice’s journey, the many lessons he learned from his legacy planning coaching, and how he’s using the tools he has gained in his current role before his retirement. 

While Maurice is approaching retirement, in his own words, he’s just getting started, with an ever-present commitment to serve, contribute positively to society, and use his experience to help other organizations. This led him to engage Navigate Forward for help around 18 months before his retirement. He describes how powerful the tools, skills, and insight he has gained have been in helping him be a more competent leader and decision-maker—things he wishes he could have used to benefit his organization years earlier.

What is Legacy Planning?

Legacy planning is not just about reshaping a resume and beginning a board or consulting search. According to Patty and Anne, legacy planning involves two components: exiting an organization well and launching what’s next in an executive’s post-career life. The process, as Maurice describes, was therapeutic, exploratory, and informative, helping him pause from his current duties to reflect on his values, how he wants to spend his time in the future, and ultimately transition into a new season. 

Developmental components like issue and opportunity spotting helped Maurice consider areas he had not in the past, beyond board readiness, to chart out his plans with more confidence and efficiency. These skills and more are what Maurice believes executives and boards need when navigating a transition or making a significant organizational change and what he is using in his current role to help prepare and position his teams for success. Maurice encourages leaders to see legacy planning not only as a benefit to an exiting executive, but also as professional development for existing teams and their objectives.

Stream the episode to learn more about Maurice’s legacy planning journey, plus:

  • Why Maurice believes legacy planning and having specialized professionals and coaching in place could be within the scope of a board’s fiduciary responsibility
  • How legacy planning can help an exiting CEO or executive and offer support and insight to the remaining teams also going through a significant change
  • How services like Navigate Forward can help an executive best tactically reimagine, organize, and present professional profiles and bios for what they’d like to do next

Listen to the episode now.

Anne Sample, Patty Hamm, Maurice Smith, Navigate Forward, and Local Government Federal Credit Union are not affiliated with or endorsed by ACT Advisors, LLC.


Audio Transcription (pulled from the podcast)

Doug  (00:00)

One of my guests on today’s podcast is Maurice Smith. Maurice is the longtime CEO at Local Government Federal Credit Union in Raleigh, North Carolina. He is a recipient of the 2020 Herb Wegner Memorial Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement presented by the National Credit Union Foundation. In today’s episode, we also have returning guests Anne Sample and Patricia Hamm from Navigate Forward. What we talk about together with Maurice is legacy planning and how the process of discovering what you want to do next can bring unexpected value to your current role as a leader, your team, and your organization.

Welcome back, Anne and Patty to the show. And welcome to “C.U. on the Show,” Maurice. We’re delighted to have you with us today.

Maurice Smith  (00:52)

Thank you, Doug. I’m delighted to be here as well.

Doug  (00:55)

I’ve known Maurice for some time. And am really excited to try to learn from him and help the leaders of the credit union movement from his great example of how credit union leaders might think about the next stage of life, the stage when you’re not running a credit union. But you’re maybe you’re still doing some very important and interesting things. So first Maurice, I know you’re well known within the movement, but if you would just tell us a little bit about how you got started working in credit unions, and where you are today.

Maurice Smith  (01:28)

Well, thank you, Doug. And thank you for this opportunity to talk a little bit about this journey that I’m on. I’m delighted to be here with Patty and Anne as well, who have been sort of my sage advisors on this course I’ve been pursuing. Doug, my actual credit union career began when I was 12 years old. And that’s how I knew that this will be my life’s work. So I’ll give you the Cliff’s Notes version of it. At age 12, standing in a potato field, on a small family farm with my father, he asked me to determine then what would be my life’s work, my career. The short story to that is I chose to go into banking as a service. And as a career because he impressed upon me the importance of banking, how it affects the economies, community, people’s livability. And so I decided that will be my career going forward. I made out better too, Doug, I actually worked in the credit union business for the last 43 years. I started out as a loan officer, I’ve worked as a branch manager, and was in charge of marketing and training. And done a number of different things in the organization. And now I find myself for the last 22 years having been the CEO of this organization. So I love the journey that I’ve been on. I really appreciate the services we provide to our members. And I have this deep respect for cooperative finance and how the financial industry makes a difference in the lives of so many people. So, 43 years, it’s been a long time. But I feel like I’m still just getting started because there’s so many things to learn. So I appreciate your question in that regard. 

Doug  (03:23)

Well, I have more. Our listeners know from the previous recording we did with Anne and Patty, they were talking about board readiness. And the idea is that leaders of the credit union movement may want to be engaged in some additional activities of value outside of the credit union movement once they retire. And delighted you have had a personal experience with working with Anne and Patty and identifying your path toward working with boards. Can you tell us a little bit about where did that originate from, what got you interested in doing this? And then how did you decide to engage a consultant to help you do this and tell us a little bit about the process, if you will?

Maurice Smith  (06:50)

Very good, Doug. So my interest in board service really begins with the foundation that corporations, organizations that are entities in our society actually have a responsibility to helping our communities thrive. Here’s what I mean by that. The invention of this artificial entity, corporations, really began in the 1800s. And the notion is that you could have a group of individuals who would come together, who would assemble their resources, their skills, and their talent for the purposes of some endeavor actually drives our economy. It helps improve our employment for our communities. It brings products and services to the marketplace. So my interest in the corporate world and corporate life, it had been driven from that point forward. So as we fast forward here today, and the last 43 years I spent in credit unions, I’ve learned from the cooperation side of credit unions and cooperative finance that it makes a difference when you aggregate the talents and the services and the resources of a community. So as I’m approaching the end of my career, I thought how might I take what I have learned through my career, and my philosophy about how corporations can make a difference in improving people’s lives, and extend that influence into other areas? So while I’m hanging up my business cards, if you will, from the credit union side of things, I thought this will be a great opportunity for me to share with other corporations what I have learned in the credit union space. So I engaged Navigate Forward to help me think about that. This is a new role. This is a new season for me. And I wanted to figure out how I present myself to a corporation or to another organization? What values do I bring to the table? But also, Doug, this is a two-way street; what might I learn from my exposure in perhaps even other industries? So the coaching I have been receiving from Navigate Forward, Patty in particular, has been therapeutic at time and exploratory at time; it’s been very useful, resourceful, and informative to me, sharing things about myself I had not even fully considered as to how should I reengineer my life and my interest going forward.

Doug  (06:34)

We’re digging into some of that. Maurice, I want to hear some more about that.

Anne Sample  (06:54)

And Maurice, I think the fun part as we started our conversations is that you knew board work was out there. And I think that’s how we first connected. But it was also really fun to step back and say, there’s a big change coming for you. Yeah. And I just remember saying, it’s not just boards we need to talk about. Because 43 years is a long time, and thinking about what’s next is a big question. So I’m just pleased we’ve been able to join you on that part of the journey and look broadly at the idea of legacy planning and helping you think about what’s next.

Maurice Smith  (07:32)

Absolutely. And that’s the part I had not fully considered. You know, you spend so much time working, as many of us do. And we have a nose to the grindstone, which is getting our day-to-day tasks done. And you wake up one day and you realize, wait a minute, this season is closing. And then I think about what does the future look like? Well, I hadn’t thought much about the future; I was thinking about today in the present time and what I had to get done. And so this has been really revealing to me to go through the process with Navigate Forward to understand, okay, Maurice, you’re becoming a different person now. And there’s different ways I can contribute to society. And how I navigate this transition has an impact on my credit union, on my family, but also on me that I hadn’t really quite fully realized. So maybe I should be sending Patty some money for therapeutic sessions. I probably felt like a patient at some point.

Patty Hamm  (08:36)

I’ve heard that before, Maurice. 

Maurice Smith  (08:37)

I understand. 

Doug (08:42)

All right. So before we get into some of the tactical specifics, let’s just kind of look back and pretend you could talk to Maurice a year or two or five years ago. When would you have started this process now that you’ve kind of gone through it and know where you are today? What’s the right time for a CEO to start this process?

Maurice Smith  (09:02)

Well, it’s too short of a time, I think, from my standpoint, when I began, maybe 18 months out before retirement. And because I thought this was really basically just reshaping a resume, and then putting myself out and shopping my wares around to other corporations. But it’s much deeper than that. I would have started this process three or four, maybe five years sooner, to understand more about who I am and what I bring to an organization. Doug, it isn’t just about me, because having more advance understanding and preparation would have been beneficial to my credit union as well. I believe some of the skills and things I’ve learned here in the last few months would have made me a better CEO in this current season, and therein would have been a return on investment for my credit union I did not know and had not seen, so my younger self would have seized on an opportunity like this some time ago, to help ease me into the season I’m heading into.

Doug  (10:10)

That’s a huge takeaway, Maurice. So you think had you started this process optimally five years ago, you would have been even more effective as a CEO? Can you give any examples of ways you identified that you might have been even more effective?

Maurice Smith  (10:26)

Absolutely. Doug, you might find this shocking. But I have made mistakes in my career over the last decades. 

Doug  (10:34)

Say it’s not true. Say it’s not true. 

Maurice Smith  (10:36)

I know I’ve taken you by surprise. Every mistake I have made, every mistake we have made as an organization, I go back and do a postmortem on it and try to figure out what went wrong. And it usually did not arise during the resource allocation’s part, it didn’t arise during the market identification part of it, or even during the execution; every mistake we’ve ever made has been an issue-spotting mistake. Some, there was a group of us sitting around in a boardroom. And we had this brainstorm with an idea to launch a product or service or go to market with something. And we realized later when we blundered what happened, there wasn’t enough diversity of thought and of individuals in the room to help us spot the issues before we launched out. So I think about my own personal career mistakes I have made over the years. If I had the right kind of coaching around me before we made certain decisions, that would have helped me spot the issues ahead of time. My conversation with Navigate Forward has been an issue-spotting exercise for me. What are the deficiencies in my own qualifications that I should work on? How might I present myself to any number of audiences? How could I be more effective in making decisions and charting out a future? Those are the kinds of issue-spotting mistakes we have made as an institution in the past that I believe had I made myself a better performer to this kind of insight, that would have helped us as an organization.

Doug  (12:14)

Outstanding. So that kind of goes and answers a question I expect our listeners would want to know, which is, is this sort of legacy planning service and what’s next for the CEO something the credit union should pay for or the executive and of course, that’s decided at the individual level. But based on what you just said, it would seem in the credit union’s interest to consider this for their leaders several years before retirement.

Maurice Smith  (12:45)

Doug, I agree with that. Here’s the reason why. Every official, every director of a credit union or any organization has a fiduciary responsibility to do what’s in the best interest of that organization. The fiduciary responsibilities we have as corporate officers is what is called the duty of care. And courts measure the duty of care by what is called a reasonable person standard. What would a reasonable person do under the same circumstances? Would a reasonable board want its CEO to perform better? Would a reasonable board want the CEO to change seasons and not cast a negative shadow on the organization? Would a reasonable board want the organization to move through the normal transitions that occur with all organizations efficiently? If the answer is affirmative for those three questions, then a reasonable board would look for resources to help its organization navigate the challenges and the changes that are going to occur in that organization. What I failed to do, and what I did not know should be contemplated in advance, is to have a conversation with the board in thinking about the fiduciary responsibility of the director. We as a CEO can sometimes rob our directors of that focus by not presenting to them the facts they need to make the most prudent decision. That’s on us when we do that. But our job is to help our directors make the best decisions for the organization.

Doug  (14:21)

Outstanding. Yeah, keeping the strategic leaders’ focus on strategy is one of the things I learned from one of our other sessions. Is your board too tactical? Is your board ready to think about strategy? Well, if you’re putting tactical information in front of them, that’s what they’re going to think about and talk about. If you’re putting strategic information in front of them, they’re going to think about strategy.

Maurice Smith  (14:47)

Yes, I firmly believe that. 

Anne Sample  (14:48) 

You know, Doug, what I was going to say is we find it happens. And that’s where board service has such a developmental side to it that folks don’t consider. But the notion of going from being the CEO to serving on a board puts you on the other side of the table. And just creates a whole new dynamic, which is why getting that means it can take 12 to 18 months for most people to get on a board. And so getting on a board while you’re a leader does give you, I think, the chance to bring those reflections in.

Doug  (15:20)

So getting clear on what you want and how you want to make a difference. So I assume that’s like a questionnaire kind of introspective process of trying to figure out what you’re looking for and why it matters to you. Is that how that happens? 

Maurice Smith  (15:34)

In many regards, it does. But this is a journey. And so having my conversations with Patty has been for me like peeling an onion. As we have our conversations, Doug, I learned a little bit about myself. And then there’s another layer, and I learned something else. And then there’s another layer. And I feel like I’m becoming a more competent person. Because I’m understanding things I really haven’t had the time or stopped to focus on like, okay, where am I going? What do I want to accomplish? My conversations with Patty have reminded me of a dialogue I had with my father some 50 some years ago, as he would talk to me about what I wanted to accomplish in life. Choosing a career. How does the economy work? What am I responsible for as an adult someday? And so that reminded me early in my career, I had keen ideas on what kind of career I wanted to have. But then life happens, you find yourself working hard, you’re trying to build a resume, you’re trying to climb the corporate ladder. It’s been reflected in nostalgia to some extent, stop and think this is how I started, these were my intentions. And so now we’re trying to make sure this legacy we’re going to chronicle matches what I hope to have accomplished so many years ago.

Doug  (17:15)

Those are good potatoes. Right.

Maurice Smith  (17:18) 

Good potatoes, indeed.

Doug  (17:19)

So one of the first things I noticed that was apparent outside of the space between your ears, I noticed that you changed the look and feel of your LinkedIn profile. That was the first thing I saw as a result of this process. Tell us a little bit about some of the things you changed as a result of going through this process.

Maurice Smith  (17:45) 

Doug, it was actually more than just the change. In fact, prior to working with Navigate Forward, I wasn’t on LinkedIn. I had a LinkedIn site some years ago. And I was managing it in a very clumsy way. And it felt more like a burden than anything else. So I exited the platform. So Navigate Forward has an expert in LinkedIn processes and management. And we’ve had a couple of conversations and meetings and some private tutoring sessions. And I was able to come back onto the platform in a much more efficient, more professional way. I have heard great feedback from folks who have connected to me, have talked about the profile I have, the materials I have presented, and the way I have organized my information. I would not have figured that out on my own. This came about through the training I have received. And so I have used that tool as a way to connect with some individuals I’ve lost contact with some time ago and new folks have connected to me who have wares to sell sometimes and sometimes they just want to network with me to understand my journey. And that’s been really quite rewarding. 

Doug  (19:02) 

I thought it was beautifully done. And because of many things, not only what it attracts but what it repels. Right? It has a language that clearly says, I’m a leader ready for board leadership. This is the kind of thing that I’ll be doing. And when I assume that’s probably the first thing someone looks at when they’re considering you for boards, a lot of times they probably go right to your LinkedIn profile, and you’ve got it written in a way to attract the right group, as far as I can tell. Are there any tactical specifics? We want to talk to you about that. 

Maurice Smith  (19:39)

That is due in large part to Patty. Let me tell you this, I shudder to think about the first draft I’d written that might be posted on LinkedIn. And in her gentle, professional way, Patty would slightly nudge me in the direction I should go, how to use the right phrases, if you will, how to organize the information so it tells a compelling story. But also be brief enough to get the point across. And because what I want to have individuals understand if they get a season is changing for me for my occupation. But my interest in doing good in society, being a contributor, and also finding new ways to be productive, if you will—that has not changed. And so LinkedIn, like reading a board, bio, or any other kind of materials that one might put out about themselves can be a one-dimensional platform. So people who read it aren’t listening to my voice, so I feel like it needs to be very efficient. So what they get out of it is truly the intent I had in mind. I did not know how to do that. That’s where having someone come along and help you, to hold your hand and guide you along the way, has been so productive. And so Navigate Forward has been the expertise that has been instrumental in helping me get my LinkedIn profile to the place where it is today.

Anne Sample  (21:09) 

Doug, I’m thinking Patty might be the right person to talk to us about legacy planning and what it is because what we have found is with leaders like Maurice who have so much humility, and who have been nose to the grindstone keeping their organizations running and been focused on the challenges right in front of them, I think Patty’s the one who can really talk about kind of how we back up and start this work. Because Maurice, I just remember from our very first conversation, both how impressed I was by you but how clear I was that one of the challenges was going to be helping you keep your humility and authenticity but also be able to really bring yourself to life through some of the work that we do. 

Patty Hamm  (21:54)

Thanks, Anne. Well, I think, and you probably heard it from Maurice, that this whole practice is about building a relationship and a partnership. And the hardest work is that beginning of working with the client on what are their expectations, what do they want, but that discovery piece of really going deep, and what their history has been like in their career, what their values have driven, where they want to go, and putting it all together. So that can take a couple months, if not longer, because that’s the time you really spend going deep. And then some of the things we talked about today are the tools we develop that then become actionable. But when we talk about legacy planning, there’s really two components we think about. One is how do we help the CEO or the executive leave the organization well? So really working with them about what is that career legacy that’s so important to them? What has the organization given them? What have they given to the organization? How do you put a narrative around that? Working with them on their timetable, if there’s succession plans to help in terms of that knowledge transfer, really partnering on that exiting in a very clear and positive way to the organization. At the same time, we’re working on what’s next. How do I launch my future after I’m engaged as a CEO? And that’s really the fun work about allowing the CEO to really think out of the box about where do I want to go with this? How do I want to spend my time? What’s going to be important to me? How do I go out there and do it? 

Doug  (23:30)

It’s interesting. So it goes from a self-reflective piece with a good bit of fishing work on the part of Patty and Anne to kind of help us help get clarity on your own outcome and values and direction and service orientation. And that’s what I’m hearing is step number one. And then step number two kind of gets into some of the more action items like changing your LinkedIn profile, building a board bio. And one of the things you talked about in our last session that I took away was the power of your Rolodex, to use a dated concept, to sort of be connected to people who may have board opportunities you hadn’t thought of prior to sort of repositioning yourself in your own mind as I’m a board leader now in this new part of my life. And I need to be sort of just still valuing the people as I valued them before, but maybe thinking of our connection in a way that may lead somewhere else. Any comments around that?

Patty Hamm  (24:42)

I think that’s true. I think one of the interesting things for Maurice that he might want to elaborate on is that we’ve talked a bit about his focus on board and wanting to go forward. But he’s got a larger kind of what’s my on-court plan. I think many in your audience might know he’s a practicing attorney. So that’s going to be important for him to continue in his work, contributing to nonprofits and organizations. Consulting is one of the things he believes his skill set and interest will be put forward. And how does he go about that networking in practice? I just want to make sure we realize that the whole encore plan is based on the interests, and it might not just be one thing, it could be a number of things the client pursues.

Maurice Smith  (25:46)

Indeed, in fact, you know, Patty, just this last weekend, I worked with some colleagues. And the question often that arises is, so you’re retiring soon. So what are you going to do? And I’d say, well, perhaps it wouldn’t surprise you that I’m not going to sit home on the front porch and count the squirrels in my front yard. I’m going to try to find some other things to do. And so, the way I framed it is, my life is going to be divided into thirds. Hopefully not quite that same precision. But my work with you, Patty, has helped me to understand the things that are important to me. And one is board service. Because I do really believe in the societal value of organizations that come together to exercise a common enterprise. And over my career, I’ve served on as many as 32 different boards, from universities and foundations to think tanks and financial institutions. I think I can offer some experience there. The second part of my life is I do want to continue practicing law. I practice law for nonprofits and religious organizations; I find it personally rewarding to me. The third part is my wife says we’re going to have fun whether I like it or not. And so part of this, my exploration with Patty, is understanding what do I want to do beyond all of that, that is not career- or business-related? How do I want to spend my time and not just counting squirrels? I feel like I’m going into this new season with a pretty well-oiled plan about what I intend on doing.

Anne Sample  (27:19)

You know, Doug, we’ve discovered the word retirement is such a fascinating word. Because for people who are early in their career, it just sounds like this compelling opportunity that involves everything from a beach to a golf course. I mean, people have this idea of retirement and what age they want to retire when they build their financial plans. It’s got a whole different context early in their career. Later in their career, it actually can be a really scary word. Because people are going from having led large organizations and going 100 miles an hour and having a very full calendar and schedule and knowing what their purpose is to being terrified of what’s next. By the way, Maurice didn’t sound terrified when he called us; he just sounded like he thought we could help. But I have talked to people who truly do sound terrified. And their question is, what am I going to do next? So the notion of legacy planning is rather than waiting to see how it goes and to see what fun your wife has planned or what you’re thinking is going to happen next, taking some time before you leave to really think it through so there can be something pulling you forward. Rather than thinking of it as the vast abyss that you don’t know what it looks like beyond that party and beyond your last day. 

Maurice Smith  (28:44)

Anne, my knees were shaking, but you just didn’t happen to see them. 

Anne Sample (28:47)

I couldn’t see them, Maurice. I guarantee you that.

Maurice Smith  (28:49)

There is a fair amount of fear that I had in going into this conversation into this season. But you all have helped ease those concerns. And I actually feel really confident about the next season. I know there will be twists and turns and things to explore as we go along. And that actually excites me. So it’s nice to have a plan on paper that we’ll be working hereafter. 

Doug  (29:17)

Maurice, how has the clarity you have about this next step in your journey, how has it changed any of your activities? What are you doing new? Or what are you doing differently than you did before you went through this process?

Maurice Smith  (29:33)

Very good question, Doug. One of the responsibilities of a CEO, I think of any leader in any organization, is to cultivate talent. So I paid very close attention to how Patty and I thought engaged in our conversation. And in the nuances of the conversation, I have used those tools to help further develop the talent in our organization. I’ve announced my retirement is coming at the end of the year and the board is going through a search process. They’re going through internal candidates today. And leading up to this point, this process where we are today, I felt like it was my responsibility to ensure they were valuable, qualified, internal candidates vying for this position. The board may decide to look outside, and they may choose outside, but my job is to make it difficult for them to go outside to find my successor. Because these are folks who bought into this system, into this team. And to be honest, I feel a certain personal allegiance to them as well. So my experience in my continued learning about leadership and preparing myself for the new season feels like it’s analogous to the new season my team is going to be going through, because they are going to be getting a new CEO at some point, the new CEO who’s likely to have new strategies and vision and ideas for the organization; the culture might shift a little bit. So I’m not the only one going through a new season. And so, to the extent that I can learn how to navigate this transition more effectively, perhaps I can pass along a few nuggets of wisdom to my colleagues here to prepare them for the season they’re about to enter into.

Doug  (31:18)

Maurice, did I hear you say that you are going to use the tools of the legacy process to also help the internal candidates? Did I get that right or get that wrong?

Maurice Smith  (31:31)

I’m using the tools to help prepare my colleagues here for the transition in leadership. The succession process is handled by the board of directors. And I mean, they are competent, battle-hardened experts in this field. So they are doing what they need to do. But even folks here in our organization who are not candidates for the CEO role, they’re going to be affected by the transition. And so it’s probably helpful for them to think about what it may look like, what do they want to envision for themselves? And what might retirement look like for them, even though it may be a decade or so away?

Doug  (32:10)

Very good. Excellent. Well, I think this has gone into areas I didn’t anticipate, which I’m delighted about, for how this idea of getting clear on your after-work career. And what that looks like and why it looks like that and how it dovetails with your personal values, how that can actually come back in and add value to your credit union leadership many years prior to actually leaving the organization. That’s a huge takeaway for me I did not anticipate. With that said, I would ask any final comments for our listeners on what they might do and what they might consider in this area that you would want them to know.

Maurice Smith  (32:52)

I suppose, for each of us, no matter whether you are—a rookie teller, a loan officer who just started a year or so ago, or a veteran who’s been in this business for a long period of time— you understand that transitions occur in life and your organization. I knew at some point, if I lived long enough, a retirement or transition was going to occur. I would encourage my colleagues who are listening to this podcast to think about what the next transition looks like for them. Whether it’s a different employment, whether it’s retirement, entrepreneurship, or whatever that happens to be, what does that transition look like? To be intentional about it. Doug, I mentioned earlier issue-spotting has been a problem that has led to failures we’ve made as an organization in the past and some bad decisions. And so, if you think about a transition in your life, whatever it happens to be in career or otherwise, take the time to find the right people to help you spot the issues before the transition begins. Navigate Forward has been instrumental in helping me figure out, okay, these are the issues I should be concerned about. These are the blind spots you have that you didn’t know even existed. And here’s how you work your way through those. And so, I would tell my colleagues that whatever you’re doing today, wherever your career happens to be at this point, there’s going to be a transition sooner or later. Now’s the time to start preparing for that and getting the right people to help you spot your issues. Before that time is up. 

Doug  (34:33)

And to spot your opportunities too, right? And I mean, that, again, as a huge takeaway for me from this process is just the internal filtering of thinking of yourself differently that would cause you to maybe spend your time differently, recording your conversations differently, just to filter your activities in a way that is aligned to your next step.

Maurice Smith  (34:56)

Absolutely, you might even, I’m not even sure if it’s in the strategic plan for Navigate Forward. But the product they provided to me might be a good product for boards of directors as they think about this season. New directors come onto a board and that’s a transition. They have to navigate new personalities, new talent, new individuals around the table; that changes the complexity of a board. All the people who are not even associated with the board or the CEO, they go to a transition as well, our clients, our customers, members, they go to transition. It feels to me that an astute CEO would recognize all of that. And will make sure they have at his or her side the kind of people who are going to help them figure that out.

Anne Sample  (35:41)

Maurice, that’s really where a lot of the services grew pretty organically around the notion of where we enjoyed doing work, and we see our value add is helping people through transitions. And it started with career transitions, because that’s really the meat of what we do is help people anytime they face a career transition. And what we discovered is getting onto a board is a transition, thinking about your retirement and your legacy is a transition. So I think your words of wisdom—it certainly doesn’t have to be with us—but I think the notion of planning and intentionality is key. Because leaders like you are in big jobs with a lot of things coming at you. And having the courage to kind of hit the pause button long enough to think about what’s next and thinking about how to get yourself and your team really ready is to me, that’d be the takeaway. Doug is just making sure leaders are thinking that through. And I think credit union leaders are generally so dedicated, and also so humble, but thinking about their own future just isn’t something they’ve prioritized. 

Maurice Smith  (36:53)

I agree.

Doug  (36:55)

Well, Anne, Patty, Maurice, thank you so much for this wonderful content today. I’m sure this is going to help the leaders of the credit union movement to continue to be more and more successful, so thanks so much.


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