Report
464
Number
Dec 18 2018

Preparing for a More Turbulent Future: How Credit Unions Can Remain Vigilant and Adaptive

The financial industry has long faced change: in technology, consumer preferences, regulation, and new business models. To thrive, credit union leaders, like all financial providers, must scan for shifts in their institutions and markets. To do so, credit union leaders need to master the twin challenges of organizational vigilance (“seeing sooner”) and of adaptive capacity (“acting faster”) as their environments change.

Paul Schoemaker
Paul Schoemaker
Wharton School of Business
George Day
George Day
Wharton School of Business
Luis Dopico
Luis Dopico
Economist
Report Number 464

Executive Summary

Vigilant organizations stay current by searching for weak signals of threats and opportunities—outliers that hint of what’s to come; taking time to figure out what they mean through probing and monitoring; and then making small bets early to learn more and gain a favorable position in the marketplace. Vigilant organizations can excel if they:

  • Exercise vigilant leadership through deep curiosity, openness to diverse inputs, and emphasis on the long term.
  • Adopt flexible and adaptive strategy-making processes that feature “outside-in” and “future-back” approaches and allow for the investigation of outliers.
  • Invest systematically in foresight activities and small-scale experimentation, while deploying flexible, real-option approaches.
  • Institute coordination and accountability for acting on weak signals, enabled by decentralization and an organizational alertness to share information broadly.

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Troubleshooting Guide

In addition to the research report, Filene offers a troubleshooting guide to help you and your credit union leadership get started on becoming more adaptive and vigilant.