What to do if your credit union strategic plan seems impossible

Here you are. Almost a dozen weeks into the new year and you are yet to cross off any action items on your strategic plan. Worse, you’re not any close to reaching your new goals for the new year than you were last year. And doubly worse, it’s like Groundhog’s Day. This has been happening year after year.

Aside from me flying out to physically give you a swift kick, there are simple steps you can take to try and start seeing some successes. I’ve gone back and reviewed my notes from dozens of credit union strategic planning session follow-ups to find the common denominators among credit unions who just can’t gain any traction. Here’s what I’ve learned:

  1. Eliminate the excuses. Duh. Seems simple, but as I review my notes excuses are plentiful. “But Covid…” “But staffing…” I call hogwash. Every other credit union (and business for that matter) have been dealt the same blows. Some have used it to get better, and some have used it as excuses to hide behind. Really, if you’re looking for a reason to delay taking action, you will always be able to find one. If you’re looking at those credit unions and businesses who have grown, despite the many excuses at everyone’s disposal, the difference is successful leaders don’t listen to those reasons and excuses. They are coming from the part of you that is afraid to fail, which is the real reason you’re afraid to take action. Stop being fearful, learn what you need to know, and take action.
  2. The right time is now. This may (or may not) go hand in hand with the point above. You can always find a reason why “now is not the right time.” But, is that just an excuse? I hear this as an excuse for lack of success, too. “Well, we didn’t grow loans because (it’s either Christmas time, or summer vacation time, or back to school time, or…)” There will always be something going on that you can use as an excuse about not being the right time. The truth is, now is the right time.
  3. Take that first step. You’ve removed the excuses and realized that there will never be a “perfect time.” So now, take that first step. Because that’s what achieving your goals is. That’s what success looks like. It’s a series of small steps, taken one after another, toward the reality you want to create and goals you want to achieve. I’ve found that once I take one step, the rest comes easy.

No brainers. Easy. Basics. You could say that about all of the above, but excuses and fear are what is standing in your way. Eliminate the excuses, gain the perspective you need to remove the fear in your way, and take one small step in your credit union strategic plan and it will become easier. You’ll achieve more, and start seeing some small wins that will motivate you and your team to take even more action.

Need a shove? Need some encouragement? Need a partner to help you gain some outside perspective so you can start moving ahead? Outsourced strategic marketing and credit union strategic planning are what we do, but asking the right questions that will help you gain the perspective you need is how we’ve been so successful in helping dozens and dozens of other credit unions reach their goals. We can help you too.

What’s Standing In Your Way?

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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