The “Why” of Freedom
A couple days ago I was posed with a question; why do we do what we do? No doubt we’ve all asked that question either of ourselves or of others. The answer, of course, is as varied as the individual asking. Certainly I’m not the one to explain the meaning of life, but what answer can I provide that will speak to you as it pertains to Freedom. First, and in a very CEO-like way, I can refer to our mission and vision statement. They are, by their very nature, written to answer the question why. Our Mission Statement: Freedom’s mission is to be a trusted partner by creating a culture of “people helping people” that meets the needs of our members and the communities we serve. Our Vision Statement: Offer financial opportunity, choice and value while building relationships that provide a memorable experience in the lives of our members and the community we serve. These are a clear and concise representation of who we are, what we want to be and what we want to accomplish. Do they answer your particular why? Ah, if only it were that simple.
Your “why” may be very specific to you. Why did we change this? Why do we do that? Why don’t we have what everyone else does? So on and so on. The answers to these questions can be complex based on detailed financial analytics or the migration of member transactions and usage over varying delivery channels. It can also be more simplistic based on a conversation with a member or a need in the community. Regardless of the particular why, it is important to know that nothing we do is based on a whim. Sure we’ll make gut calls after some analysis or switch gears if something isn’t working, but we do what we do for one simple reason; to serve. We are here to serve our members, to serve each other, to serve our community and, hopefully in the process, make a difference that has a lasting impact on each. This is an extraordinarily utopian concept and it rarely comes without its share of struggle and disappointment, but consider the alternative. If we don’t believe in something more, strive for something better, then this is just a job that means nothing, that does nothing for anyone. It’s a daily activity with no worth. I sure don’t want that and I’ll fight every day for that utopian ideal before I’ll accept the alternative.
Remember, we are not just an employer or a financial institution. We are a credit union. We generate income like most business, but we do it to pay our bills and give back; to members with better rates and fewer fees, by investing in Freedom for stability and longevity, to the community with time and resources. Individually, we can look at this “job” as just that; a way to pay the bills, keep a roof over our head, feed the family. Or we can embrace the mission and vision of Freedom and, in turn, answer the question “why do we do what we do?” with the answer “if not us, then who?”
Mike MacPherson, Freedom CEO