Reboot Don’t Redo

Reboot Don’t Redo Your Credit Union’s Strategic Plan in Response to Coronavirus

“How do you know if you’re making the right move?” That was the question Yvon Chouinard was asked several years ago at a conference.

His response: “It’s a lot of gut instinct. If you study something to death, if you wait for the customer to tell you what he wants, you’re going to be too late. That comes from Henry Ford: Customers didn’t want a Model T; they wanted a faster horse.”

The last time I checked, Yvon Chouinard’s Patagonia was debt-free and selling $575m per year. I like his track record.

Now is a great time to ask whether your credit union is making the right moves, but we can’t know what the right move is without sufficient information. Let’s assume based on what we know that coronavirus and the social upheaval left in its wake will not go away all at once. Now let’s think about what things might look like in seven months.

Picture it (in your best Sophia from the Golden Girls voice): Thanksgiving Day, 2020. People are still worried about a second wave of infections and unemployment is still wreaking havoc on the economy.

Seven months from now when credit union leaders look back at this moment, what will you be thankful you decided to do TODAY?

Now is the time for you to tweak your business model.

We are in the early stages of a once-in-a-lifetime change of fortune and fortunes. This is when the big fish quit eating the small fish. Now is when the fast fish eat the slow. If you plan to wait it out, you’re one of the slow fish and your credit union member-owners can’t afford that and don’t deserve that.

Make it easier for your members to do business with you. Think big but start small. Start with something you can do TODAY.

I was so happy to have an impromptu call with a client last week. A frantic email had only the subject line, “I’m concerned about our strategic plan.” The conversation that ensued was focused on using some of the capital to reimagine how the credit union serves its members. The conversation ranged from rethinking the org chart to determine irrelevant positions, investing in new technology to questioning the real estate planned for acquisition. Tough conversations. Scary things. A lot of change. All things that are tough for any leader, but especially credit union leaders, who always want to be the good guys.

When reinventing your business model, the most important thing to keep in mind is this:

If I am wrong, and this virus goes away all at once, and everything goes back to exactly how it used to be prior to the coronavirus pandemic, will I still be glad I made the changes the credit union made? Will I have moved my credit union forward by making it easier for members to do business with us?

We’ve recently completed some strategic reboots for credit unions to provide perspective and make better, more informed decisions based on data instead of just a gut feeling.

After a strategic reboot last week, one credit union CEO shared, “I feel better about 2020. It may not be perfect, but we have a plan now and if we work it we’re going to be just fine.” We didn’t blow the original strategic plan up, but we re-evaluated priorities and adjusted strategies for relevancy in the new challenges credit unions are facing during and after the coronavirus pandemic.

Let us help your credit union reboot your strategic plan and get back on track to meeting your goals in 2020. Fill out the form below for a free conversation with me to see if it’s a good fit for your credit union, or just email me directly:

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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