Football Coach Has Advice For CUs

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What can a college football coach say to a room full of credit union executives? Quite a lot, it turns out. Lou Holtz, head coach at the University of South Carolina, offered his thoughts on credit unions during WesCorp's recent Future Forum conference here.

"Credit unions have had success, but face a future that is uncertain," he said. "When a person or business experiences success, do they get content, or do they retain their burning desire for success? When they get down, do they get up or stay down? Attitude is critical."

There are several parallels between coaching a football team and running a CU, Holtz said. In both cases, recruiting is vital, fundamentals are boring but important, and leadership means creating an environment where people lift each other up instead of pulling each other down.

To create "team unity" at a credit union, he recommends following three simple rules: first, do what is right and avoid what is wrong; second, demand everyone live up to his or her obligations and responsibilities by doing his or her best every day, and, third, each person should treat others the way he or she wants to be treated.

Too many leaders worry about being popular, not leading, he said. In business and in sports, people are looking for trust, caring and a commitment to excellence.

Holtz stressed the importance of "significance." He defined the term as: people would miss a person or a business entity if they woke up one day and discovered the person or business was gone. He said CUs have earned this title because of the good work they do. "Credit unions not only are successful, they are significant. They help people. They should be congratulated for the success they've had, and then challenged to do even better."

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