Mid Oregon Credit Union’s Jessica George Shares Insights on her Second Emerging Leaders Session


Jessica George, District Manager at Mid Oregon Credit Union.

Editor’s Note: Jessica George, District Manager at Mid Oregon Credit Union in Bend, shares her insight on the second session of the 2019 Emerging Leaders program. Jessica was awarded the 2019 Emerging Leaders Strategic Link Scholarship. You may read about her first session here. 

Emerging Leaders  participants attend a series of three-day training sessions that start in the spring and end in early fall, with three sessions total. During the training workshops, attendees collaborate with industry colleagues and build strong professional relationships with peers from other credit unions. They focus on strategic leadership skills, effective assessment and feedback processes, leadership models, language, and executive presence. This year’s program is in Seattle. 

On day one of session two’s Emerging Leaders, we jumped right in, but this time around we knew what to expect. We met with our groupsestablished in session one, and presented on learning models, including the DISC Profile, Language of Leadership, Mutual Commitment to Success (MCS), and Seasons and Focused Centering.  

We had the opportunity to review and practice the Vision Strategy Method (VSM), a tool that helps effectively plan and problem solve before starting a project. We identified the gaps and challenges we faced through the situation assessments.  

We then applied these same skills to succinctly state our Vision and Mission for our own Emerging Leaders projects. I plan to implement the VSM model with each project going forward and use this to find roadblocks ahead of time. I anticipate saving money and frustration through effective planning by using the VSM model. It will help me anticipate pitfalls and weigh consequences.  

I have been a reactive project partner before, waiting for the issue to arise before I tackled it. I can now use the VSM to determine if an idea has merit, is worth the time and money, create a proposal, and deliver on a strategic plan. I am excited to share this tool with my leadership team.  

On day two, we dived into the Generative Assessment Model (GAM). When we can recognize the difference between assessments and assertions, we can change the way we communicate and respect the different perspectives of others, allowing us to grow as leaders. This realization is a game changer for my leadership communication and how I offer feedback to my team. I can now see that it isn’t enough to just provide “feedback,” but powerful assessments are followed by a request or an offer that results in action. I will change the way I present, become more curious, and finish strong with action.   

Without an informed perspective, assessment can move toward observations. Observations are less impactful as they are really an opinion and do not consists of facts. We all have opinions of the world around us, based on experiences and mood ,and often provide feedback on those opinions. I will gain more commitment if I move away from observations and use fact-based assessments digging deeper, asking questions, looking into the situation, and finding the facts.   

When delivering or receiving assessments, I want to ensure the outcome, not just that the message was given or heard. I’m thinking differently about how I offer feedback now.  Before I deliver feedback, I consider: 

  • Why I’m providing this assessment; 
  • If they’re open to my feedback; 
  • What’s important to them; 
  • If I’m stuck in my opinion, holding it as an assessment, but acting as if it were a fact; 
  • What I may not be aware of; and 
  • The actions needed from myself and my team to move forward.   

Leaders seek assessments as they enable and fulfill what is important. Soliciting assessments helps leaders growYou must ask for assessments and be open to those that come at you, having the skill to know the importance of delivering when the timing is right and adjust your feedback accordingly in order to ensure your audience is receptive and open. Remember, the most impactful may not be the most useful in the moment. 

Feedback is already an important skill we teach at our credit union. The GAM provides additional tools for both the giver and receiver of the assessment, enriching the feedback exchanges. I plan to incorporate this into our training here at the credit union to gain understanding and commitmentI will seek feedback from my team to grow professionally and strengthen our communication.  

By day three we had exercised many different models and found a clearer leadership path. We know that our project will take many more adjustments and refinements. While we are developing our leadership skills, we are stretching and gaining experience for our future selves and not to forgot along the way, that it will take deliberate practice and being open and receptive to assessments to help us grow into the great leaders we are striving to become.   

Posted in Emerging Leaders.