How an Opinion Can Ruin Your Credit Union Strategic Planning Session

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Opinions are like…, well, you know. Everyone has one. And that’s not a bad thing. However, if you treat your opinion as a fact, it can completely ruin a productive credit union strategic planning session, and perhaps even the successful trajectory of your credit union.

I’m always quick to push back in a planning session when a credit union leader gives their opinion and treats it as a fact. “Is that how you feel, or can you give us the data to prove this is a fact?” It’s easy to assume what we know and feel is true for everyone else.

It’s not just opinions about credit union strategy and consumer behavior. We do this every day in life. We think an Oscar-winning movie is trash, while someone else celebrates the victory. We think one music genre is a waste of brain cells while others are jamming along to that same genre. What is “fake” and what is “real?” What is authentic and what is commercial? We bring these same biases to credit union strategic planning sessions, and your voice and opinions should be heard, but it’s necessary to revisit your ideal member profile and identify the majority opinions and preferences they have.

As we grow wiser as credit union leaders, the more understanding and accepting of foreign ideas and uncomfortable discussions should become the norm. We should “ask a freaking question,” rule No. 6 in the YMC rules of a successful credit union strategic planning session.

Understand the problem you are trying to solve. This is your members we’re talking about, so it’s critical to understand their exact problem and how they feel about that problem. Only then can you start talking about what strategy is right to help your credit union solve that particular problem, which if done properly will result in accomplishing your credit union’s strategic growth goals.

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Alex VanHaasteren

Senior Web Developer

Alex is YMC’s Senior Web Developer and, as the title suggests, she is an absolute pro! While she initially started in graphic design – working long and hard to expertly bring concepts to life – she also felt drawn to technology and applying her natural ability to problem solve. Web Development proved the perfect blend of her creative passion and technical savvy.

When Alex is out with friends – including her YMC colleagues – she’s up for Greek cuisine or some good pulled pork BBQ washed down with Diet Coke. Or an Old Fashioned, if the occasion demands. Someday, she hopes to go to Africa on a safari. Hopefully she’ll see a giraffe in the wild, because – as she’s pointed out – its neck is too short to reach the ground!

When she isn’t jamming out to T-Swift, she’s happy to impart some marketing words of wisdom, “Aim to create something unforgettable.” For day-to-day inspiration, she would remind you of two fundamental truths: You decide your happiness, and Ice cream is its own food group—not just a dessert.

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