3 Tips to Get the Most out of Your Credit Union Strategic Plan

As we enter the time when we start looking ahead to the next year, your credit union strategic plan might be complete, or you plan to work on it very soon. Regardless, you want it to be more than a dusty document on the shelf or a forgotten file in your digital folder.

Having gaining perspective from conducting many credit union strategic planning sessions over the last 15 plus years, I wanted to share three thoughts with you. Thoughts that aren’t top secret or even groundbreaking. Reminders really of three basic things that will ensure you get the most out of your strategic plan.

  1. A strategic planning session is not an idea review. A strategic planning session is also not a budget forecast or review. A strategic discussion is how you are going to accomplish your growth goals over the next three to five years. Set your goals. Make sure they are just enough out of reach currently that it forces you to think strategically about what needs to change to be able to reach those goals, though you couldn’t even fathom reaching those goals currently.
  2. Revert to assertive inquiry. Our default mode when we participate in group discussions like strategic planning is typically advocacy, arguing in favor of your own conclusions, theories and statements about the truth of your own point of view. Assertive inquiry blends advocacy (the explicit expression of your own thinking) with inquiry (the sincere exploration of the thinking of others). Notice I used the term sincere – listening to actually listen and not respond. In the end, assertive inquiry makes you understand: “I have a view worth hearing, but I might be missing something.”
  3. Come prepared with knowledge and perspective. One credit union I work with uses a document called OGSM (objectives, goals, strategy and measures). Be careful with this type of document as it could easily turn into a laundry list of initiatives as opposed to an articulation of how to win. The OGSM document contains a clear and concise outline of what specific sandbox they are playing in, how they are going to win in that sandbox, the strategic choices needed to achieve the aspirations of the credit union and measures of success. This is typically a one-page document utilizing bullet points in each section for clarity.

Every credit union strategic plan should help formulate, refine and clearly communicate the essentials of strategic choices throughout the entire credit union. It should support and invest in the credit union’s core capabilities and measure success. And it should not be relegated to gather dust in a corner.

Need help achieving meaningful change for success? Would you like facilitator focused on longer term accountability? Let’s talk!

Need help taking that step today?

From strat plans to rebrands, YMC President and CEO, Bo, is passionate about helping financial institutions come up with a winning formula. If you’re ready to go beyond the SWOT, you can email him at bo@yourmarketingco.com.

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