For the EVOLution of Business

Aligning Stakeholders For A Century Of Enduring Value with Faheem Masood of ESL

Episode Summary

When ESL Federal Credit Union defined its purpose "to help the community thrive and prosper," it was putting into words what had been there from its founding in 1920. Despite countless investments in the community as well as their recognition as a Great Place to Work for 9 of the past 10 years, CEO Faheem Masood believes they will always be evolving to better align stakeholders and more fully live that purpose: "We wouldn't be here if we didn't have a thriving we are now on a journey to better understand what that means and remove some contradictions that may not be consistent...All of us will prosper if the community prospers." As they celebrate their 100th anniversary, their long-term mindset and community focus has also led to enduring value for the company, which was able to give their member owners their largest-ever dividend, proving that in the long run, purpose and profit are mutually reinforcing! Faheem Masood has served as President & CEO of ESL Federal Credit Union since March 2016.ESL the largest locally led financial services institution in the Greater Rochester area and with assets of $6.8 billion, ESL is one of the largest credit unions in New York State And in the top 1% of more than 7,000 federally insured credit unions in the U.S. They’ve also been nationally recognized as a Great Place to Work Best Small and Medium Workplaces 9 times since 2010.

Episode Notes

[1:45] Finding his way into banking

[2:20] Celebrating the 100th Anniversary  of ESL

[3:00] Transforming from Eastman Savings and Loan for Kodak employees to an independent credit union (aka financial cooperative) in 1996

[5:55] Defining the purpose "to help the community thrive and prosper" ... "we recognize the true relationship between the community and the organization. In many respects we wouldn't be here if we didn't have a thriving community. So we see that as a direct responsibility to contribute to we are now on a journey to better understand what that means and remove some contradictions that may not be consistent with that process."

[8:50] Balancing purpose and profit - "This is not ALL feel good...In the long run, what is good for the community is good for all participants in the community. So for us, strengthening the community means strengthening our business opportunities, strengthening our employees, strengthening our membership. All of us will prosper if the community prospers. You can't have one part of the community succeeding and say the community is succeeding. You need a collective impact."

[10:50] An inclusive, stakeholder-driven process to determine "what will create a healthy, resilient, equitable Rochester" - strengthening neighborhoods, strengthening opportunities

[14:00] Deciding to apply for the Best Place to Work Award: "the award was a byproduct, it was not the gave us a way to benchmark...It's one thing to participate, it's another thing to design activities based on the feedback that you get. Don't bother participating if you aren't going to actively design an ongoing process of what you're going to do."

[19:00] Changes ESL has made over the years from the Best Place to Work feedback - "Recognition is not only monetary, it is about acknowledgement. That really creates an engaged environment."

[22:30] Balanced scorecard approach

[25:00] Changing the short-term focus and aligning the business with stakeholders for the long term: "One of the most difficult tasks going through this journey is reprogramming ourselves to make decisions through a different lens."

[28:00] Learning about how part-time work impacts their employees and offering full-time work to any employees that want it, increasing starting salaries

[31:30] Challenges of scaling culture as the company grows and the importance of storytelling

[33:30] Integrating values into rewards and recognition with the VIP (Values in Practice) Award

[36:20] Advice for other leaders taking their companies on the journey of Conscious Capitalism - "understand yourself in the context of the environment that you're in, and do what you have to do to improve that."

[39:30] The future of ESL (and Rochester): "I don't see our purpose evolving,  I see ourselves evolving to be more true to our purpose of 'helping our community thrive and prosper'...I'm not sure you ever get there, but you continually work at it...I'm not thinking in a revolutionary way, but continuing to evolve with our purpose at the center."