Credit Union Strategic Planning Sessions Reveal The One Characteristic Of Unsuccessful Leaders

There’s no denying the last few years have been trying for credit union leaders. We’ve survived the COVID lockdowns; we’re shouldering through the Great Resignation and inflation to name a few.

These external gut punches didn’t pick and choose what credit unions to impact. Every single credit union has been kicked in the ass by these, and then some.

It’s been interesting to listen closely to the discussions in credit union strategic planning sessions this year and compare the attitudes of the credit union leadership to their numbers. The more intense the victim mentality displayed by the leadership, the lower the credit union’s financial performance. While they see the events of the last few years as “things that happen to them;” other leaders have accepted the challenge, cranked up the creativity, used the events of the last few years as an opportunity to grow, and adjust to this new normal. Likewise, their financial performance reflects that as well.

It’s exhausting listening to those with a victim mentality. Their facts may be accurate, but the way they interpret them personally is exhausting. They forget the enemy that will plunge a knife into your heart first is yourself. They don’t pause to gain perspective. Self-discipline is nonexistent, and they fear change. There is no nimbleness within the leadership of the credit union. As times change and require change, there is no change.

That said, being hopeful doesn’t mean you don’t acknowledge the challenges ahead of you, but you get to choose. Are you going to complain about all of these factors you have zero control over? Will you incessantly complain it’s just not fair and all would be well in your credit union if those things had never happened? Can you recognize that you’re not a victim and have choices? You have choices to adjust and change the winds in your sail. It is in fact a choice.

That one characteristic of credit union leaders who aren’t meeting goals I’ve observed during credit union strategic planning sessions is a victim mentality. All of the outside factors are merely a convenient excuse for a prolonged period of inaction.

Don’t Be A Victim

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

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