What do my best practice credit union clients all have in common?
By best practice, I mean my clients who are consistently hitting their growth goals and have exceptional cultures where people WANT to work, all while being committed to a common vision that makes a difference.
They have a leader who consistently makes sound, data-backed decisions and then fearlessly implements the credit union strategic plan.
The difference between a good leader and a great leader is employing a framework that helps sort through data and mitigates emotions to choose a plan of action and decisively execute on it.
Several months ago, I was working with a credit union CEO who was not making decisions (which, in fact, is a decision). She had some big initiatives on her plate that could make the difference between success and a merger.
“Why haven’t you made a decision yet?” I asked after almost six months of these initiatives sitting with no action.
She responded, “These are big, I just don’t know where to start.”
I couldn’t argue with that. When you talk about staffing changes, branch closures, and other big decisions that have such an impact on others, they should not be taken lightly. However, with no decision made, we both knew what the outcome would be.
How to start executing your credit union strategic plan
If you find yourself in the same situation as this credit union leader, let me walk you through three steps we took and how she got unstuck to move mountains in a short amount of time.
- Plan. Without a deadline in place for any decision or project, it’s easy for them to linger. We set a deadline for when she would make the decision and worked backward through all of the steps that needed to happen to be ready to decide by that date.
- Accountability. Transparency is key, however, there are some decisions that need to stay close until you make the decision. To stay on track, find someone to hold you accountable. In this case, I worked with the board chair to support the CEO along the way and serve as a sounding board, but ultimately let the CEO know there would be accountability for missed deadlines.
- Do it! You worked the plan. You gained proper perspective and data to help make a sound decision. You made the decision within the time frame set, and now it’s time to execute. Deciding to do something is only the first step. Now you must plan to act on your decision, clearly communicate the decision and why it was made to gain support from your team, and then collaborate with them to make it happen so the world does not fall on your shoulders.
How about you? What decisions did you make in your last credit union strategic planning session that are lingering with no action? You’ve made some good excuses but deep down you feel overwhelmed, and that is the real reason for inaction.
Or the classic “I just haven’t had time.” I’ve been guilty of that, and so had my team. Until we implemented a new rule: Instead of saying “I didn’t have time,” we must say, “It wasn’t a priority.” Then we share what took priority over the issue at hand. A small percentage of the time there was something more important, but most times it was busy work that wasn’t an actual priority. By practicing that, I’ve become a better decision-maker, and we ensure that our strategic priorities are accomplished on time each quarter.
Need help getting unstuck? Our time-tested action plan has helped many credit union leaders find success and get their credit unions into “thrival” mode instead of just survival. I’m ready to help you, too.