The Dreadful Reality of a Wasted Planning Session

Every year credit union leaders and volunteers gather with the best of intentions, hoping to discuss where they’ve been, where they are, and where they’re going. The ultimate goal of these sessions is to emerge from the meeting room with a strategic plan to accomplish a common goal.

But before the first cup of coffee can be consumed, reality sets in. Crowded with competing egos, conflicting agendas and occasional bouts of indifference, the program veers off course only to get stuck in the thick weeds of unproductive conversations. Career paths and volunteer ambitions are on the line, so caution reigns. The stated goal may be to develop a five-year strategy for tackling contemporary challenges like “what millennials want,” but it’s clear to everyone in attendance that what really matters is playing it safe to keep legacy members happy. Sound familiar?

Success isn’t for everybody.

Before we go any further, it’s only fair to point out that the rest of this article may not be for you. If you’re not interested in pushing forward because you’re satisfied with where your credit union is today, you can stop reading. But if you’re tired of the same old SWOT analysis and bloated task lists full of busywork like “pave our parking lot and upgrade our ATMs,” the following advice may be just what need to take your credit union to the next level.

Ready to grow? Let’s go!

If you’re still reading, it’s safe to assume you’re no longer content with maintaining the status quo. So, how can you create planning sessions that escape the unproductive doldrums and engage in candid, challenging, productive conversations? What will it take to get your leadership team and volunteers to start thinking ahead and viewing problems as opportunities?

The solution won’t be found in another strategy framework. There are plenty of those already. What you need is a plan that addresses the “social side of strategy.” When you dig deep enough, you find that most strategic challenges stem from interpersonal issues like boardroom politics, individual incentives, and human biases. What’s the best way to steer clear of these potential stumbling blocks? You need a moderator who will hold you and your leadership team accountable and facilitate conversations focused on facts instead of verbal competitions fueled by emotion.

How we do what we do.

When YMC works with a credit union, our very first strategic planning session centers around where we believe banking is headed. Instead of talking about where we want it to go or where we hope it doesn’t go, we conduct a predictive analysis that looks at current industry trends and where we see those them leading in the next 5 to 10 years. These observations become the principles that guide us as we walk credit union leadership teams through the process of developing a sensible strategy that’s grounded in facts, not swayed by emotion.

Of course, predictive analysis is only the first step in an eight-step process we use to help our clients plan for the future. We gauge the effectiveness of our process by the feedback we receive from credit union leaders. “The best and most productive planning session we’ve ever had.” We hear those exact words time and time again as we’re wrapping up a strategic planning session. Although it’s still early in 2018, it’s never too soon to begin planning for 2019. Take the first step in getting un-stuck and book your strategic planning session today. For more details or to schedule your event, fill out the form below!

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