Learning From the Navy

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Thanks to Frank Diekmann and the Credit Union Journal's Grow Show for opening my eyes to what the private sector and credit unions can learn from the Navy.

The commanding officer of the USS Nimitz relies on his PR advisor to find stories and shape the messages that help the captain maintain a high level of performance and morale.

Several times during his riveting presentation onboard the carrier, Capt. Michael C. Manazir referred to the advice and key messages developed by his public affairs officer, Lt. Cmdr. Jason Salata. Capt. Manazir may be a rare bird. Rarely do top CEOs mention the support of their top PR people. And sometimes they don't turn to them for advice.

Great PR people know how to craft messages that the target audiences understand and that speak their language, which isn't the natural language of their CEO bosses. I saw firsthand how a CEO of an acquiring credit union ignored the advice of his PR consultant. The CEO communicated with members of the target credit union in a way that appeared the merger was engineered by the larger firm and was a done deal, rather than as a smart move by the board and CEO of the smaller credit union. The merger was voted down by the members of the smaller credit union. I think if Capt. Manazir was the commander of the acquiring credit union and he was listening to Lt. Cmdr. Salata, the merger attempt would have been successful because the messages would have been on target.

Credit Union Journal arranged an amazing and unique opportunity for those of us who attended the Grow Show in San Diego to learn about strategy, tactics and human resource management from a top Navy officer. Like many corporate CEOs, Capt. Manazir studies and creates best practices. The big difference is that his team executes the best practices with discipline.Kurt Jacobson, President
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Credit Union Journal encourages reader feedback. Letters to the Editor can be sent to Managing Editor Lisa Freeman at lfreeman@cujournal.com. Letters can also be faxed to 561-832-2939 or submitted online at www.cujournal.com.

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