Ari Farrell Shares Key Takeaways from Session Two of the 2020 Emerging Leaders Program

Ari Farrell, Industrial Hemp Program Analyst at Northwest Community Credit Union


Editor’s Note: The Emerging Leaders Training Program helps credit union professionals build the skills they need to coordinate and execute strategies and tactics for their organizations. This year, the program is taking place virtually, allowing participants to engage and learn at their own pace through one-on-one coaching, group work, assessments, real-time interactive sessions, and pre-recorded presentations of core modules. 

Ari Farrell, Industrial Hemp Program Analyst at Northwest Community Credit Union, was awarded the 2020 Emerging Leaders Strategic Link Scholarship. In part two of a three-part series, Farrell sheds light on the Vision Strategy Method.

Strategy. It’s the name of the game when it comes to big-picture thinking, and it’s a core theme for my personal leadership development. In the first session of the Emerging Leaders Program, we laid the groundwork when we were reflecting and looking inward into our strengths and areas for improvement. With the support of the teachers and our peer group mentors, we pivoted into strategic project planning. To get this done, we needed both an idea and a structure in which we could feed that idea into and watch it zoom out, grow, and expand, like magic, into a well-formed project proposal. That structure was the Vision Strategy Method (VSM). 

The VSM is a unique strategic method that allows you to easily jump into its structure and start working from any point, instead of having to follow a strict project flow chart. The idea is that you can use the method to write out and clearly articulate an idea, piece by piece, and bring it all together. Diligently doing this work helps identify the obstacles in our ideas and helps us to plan for any potential problems or challenges that may present themselves along the path of transforming an idea into a  successful project.  

The VSM is helping me organize my thoughts and write out a well-formulated summary that will allow me to be prepared to present my project idea. This model has made me think more broadly about every element that will be impacted by my project and will help us be foundationally ready to scale up one of our own products.

For my project, I am focusing on updating and modernizing manual processes that take up too much time, and in turn, have had errors and delays due to a lack of centralization. I have learned that I need to think beyond the problem, opportunity, or need, and consider everything that is connected in relation to the credit union’s strategic initiatives and abilities. I have learned that, just as I was needing to set my personal future goals, I have to also broaden my perspective for a project.

Learning about strategic thinking while using the VSM opened my eyes to the true value of my project. I took a look back at my “why” for the project and related it to how it will impact my credit union’s strategic initiatives, key performance indicators, and core values. I was able to leverage the VSM and gain a greater understanding of just how my idea could fit in and what type of impact I wanted it to have in my credit union.  What we learned through the practice of the Vision Strategy Method was that we are the ones who will have to develop skills and expand our thinking to create the magic.

I am looking forward to introducing this idea to my credit union knowing that I have a well-thought-out and comprehensive project proposal to bring to the table. Here we go! 

To read part one of this series, click here. Stay tuned for part three, coming to Anthem in February 2021.

For questions about the Emerging Leaders Program, please contact Holly Miller, NWCUA Director of Programming.

Posted in Emerging Leaders.