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How To Give Your Best Practice The Attention It Deserves

A Best Practice lies in the eye of the beholder–and there it too often stays unseen by anyone and everyone else. Gems hidden in back-office cubicles. Pearls invisible to anyone not on your network. Diamonds disguised as “just something we came up with.”

We believe it’s critical that more eyes are exposed to best practices within credit unions so that others may benefit from some of the ingenious innovations, ideas and strategies that have been developed in-house–and otherwise would have stayed there.

As noted on page 1 of this issue, the Journal is calling for entries to our annual Best Practices Awards. As our recent Grow Show exhibited, the Journal and cujournal.com have placed significant editorial emphasis in recent years on helping credit unions to be vibrant, prospering operations even in the midst of some fundamental shifts in the competitive landscape. It’s what decision-makers and credit union leaders have consistently asked for, and we’ve sought to deliver.

In addition to Grow Show and a deep archive of resources at cujournal.com, every issue contains numerous stories featuring peer group leaders and success strategies, and once a year we feature more than two-dozen of the best in our Best Practices issue.

That’s where you come in.

Every Best Practice we’ve profiled has been nominated by a credit union or solution-provider within credit unions. We’ve taken pains to make it simple to participate and have intentionally avoided creating formal categories for entry so as to encourage everyone to say, “You know, there’s a little something we’ve been doing that we think is a pretty darned good idea and we believe would be considered a best practice and that other credit unions could use, too.” (Hint: this is the “cooperative” piece of being a cooperative.)

Like most good ideas and innovations, the Best Practices have nearly always come from the bottom up rather than being pushed from the top down. Some have been in-house tweaks of solutions a vendor offered that got a little “improvement.”

Others have been developed by credit unions and “borrowed” by vendors who have deployed them elsewhere. The ideas have run the gamut, but many are the types of back-office solutions that aren’t the stars out getting all the attention on the red carpet, but are instead the behind-the-scenes technicians who make it all work, and more importantly, are the kind of pragmatic resolution other credit unions crave.

The Journal’s Best Practices issue has featured everything from making it easier to fill out a 5300 Call Report to simple-but-effective ways to keep the credit union fresh in members’ minds to credit card programs to online bill pay to HR policies to branch operations to mortgage lending to board practices to marketing, and on and on.

(Subscribers can access all of the 2007 Best Practices featured in Credit Union Journal at www.cujournal.com.)

So take a moment and give some thought to sharing your Best Practices. We’re not seeking the pie-in-the-sky, “wouldn’t-it-be-great-if we could” ideas, but ideas that have been test-driven and which have proven results.

It is easy to enter. Nominations may be submitted by credit unions themselves, a CUSO, or even another credit union.

Nominations can also be submitted by suppliers to the credit union community that have clients they believe exemplify the best practice in implementing a particular product or service.

The criteria are as follows:

1) Best practice must have been deployed since June 1, 2007.

2) CU (or vendor) selects (or even creates) a category and nominates itself/client CU.

3) The entry should include: 500 words or less on why it believes it has created a best practice within its operation. The nomination essay should include as many tangible measures as practical (including ROI where available) documenting the best practice; the background on environment prior to the implementation of the best practice; factors driving adoption of the best practice, and any new products/solutions deployed to achieve the best practice.

You may enter more than one category, and here’s the part that always has great appeal, there is no charge for entries!

Nominations should be e-mailed to the Managing Editor Lisa Freeman at lfreeman@cujournal.com. You can also click on the Best Practices button on the right-hand side on www.cujournal.com.

Winners will be profiled in Credit Union Journal later this year, so that even more Best Practices can not just lie in the eyes of more beholders, but to ensure there are more beholders around to see them, as well.

Frank J. Diekmann can be reached at fdiekmann@cujournal.com. (c) 2008 The Credit Union Journal and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved. http://www.cujournal.com http://www.sourcemedia.com

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