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Jump-Starting Performance Improvement: A Case Study from Elevations Credit Union

A consistent process improvement program will help your credit union generate member loyalty, financial growth, and operational efficiency.

  • Manny Nat Research Associate at Filene Research Institute

Executive Summary

The late martial artist Bruce Lee once said, “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.” In other words, he respects one who’s dedicated to being really good at one particular thing.

In today’s hypercompetitive business world, credit unions cannot afford to be mediocre or subpar performers—especially if growth is the intended outcome. One way to achieve excellence is through continuous performance improvement.

Companies across various industries treat continuous performance improvement as a way of operating. While the techniques used by organizations vary, the intent to streamline processes is a shared theme. The end result is a much happier customer or end user. One notable example is Toyota Motor Corporation’s “Toyota Way.”

The Toyota Way is a proprietary set of principles that guide the company’s production system. It was designed to give employees the tools needed to continually improve their work. These principles include building a culture of getting it right the first time, using reliable, proven systems, and relentless reflection to drive knowledge management. The Toyota Way has helped Toyota become one of the world’s largest companies.

There are also nonproprietary methodologies like Lean Six Sigma and Just-in-Time, which are widely and easily adaptable. Continually introducing improvements should be a core focus of any business, including credit unions.

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