200126682-0012It’s 1981. Ronald Reagan is president. Some say Carter ruined the economy (depends on whether you were a Democrat or Republican). Anyway, interest rates were CRAZY out of control, inflation was rampant, and financial institutions needed cash. John Lennon’s Imagine was on the top of the charts.

I had just been promoted to Member Service Representative, when Tom Sargent handed me a memo from the League. Reagan signs Economic Recovery Act that allows credit unions to issue All Savers Certificates!

Cool!!! I get to be a marketer. You see, in 1981, we didn’t have a marketing department. Very few credit unions did. Our members marketed FOR us. But this program was only going to begin in October so we couldn’t wait for the “word-of-mouth” to do its job.

I was so excited! I like to draw and this was waayyyyy before Photoshop, Illustrator or, well personal computers really. I got some cool paper and colored pens and made my mark. I stuck these posters up in the lunch rooms of every government agency we served. And waited.

October 1st, the doors opened and then it happened. First one, then another, and another, and by the end of the week we had opened 450 new accounts! At one point, we had a “line” to my desk and up until then had no real need for a waiting area so we had to improvise.

At the end of that first week Tom called me into his office. He told me that he was very impressed with the initiative I took and that I was directly responsible for the credit union’s success. He gave me a $200 a month raise. And when you’re making $650.00 a month, that’s like becoming a millionaire, winning the lottery, moving into upper class. Well, anyway it was REAL money. I could start driving my car to work again.

These were exciting times. It taught me two things that I still practice.

One: always plan for overwhelming success.
It always seems funny to me when I see people getting uptight during busy times, say in a restaurant, hotel, etc. I mean, wasn’t that your GOAL to be packed?

Two: rewarded behavior is repeated.
It wasn’t the money as much as it was Tom recognizing my efforts. He will always be my mentor and I owe a lot of my work ethic today to him. Congratulations Tom for winning the Herb Wegner award this year!

Next up: Too good to be promoted.