What to do if your credit union strategic plan seems impossible

doodle of a yellow man at the base of a teal mountain

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.

Who's Standing In Your Way?

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Reh Harvey

Vice President of Digital Strategy

Reh Harvey, our Vice President of Digital Strategy, leads with diligence and fervor. Having previously been a member of Team YMC, he is excited to return to such an amazing culture and even more amazing people (his words)! Through his experience in the marketing world, he’s found the key to success is to stay on the cutting edge and to always keep evolving.
Although originally drawn to marketing for its lack of math, Reh now finds himself doing more math than he would’ve bargained for. But his self discipline and positive attitude make it easy for him to laugh and take it in stride. Hoping to one day visit Japan and enjoy some premium Sushi, Reh lives life by his creed: Be a good human. Do good work. And above all, just keep going.

Hailey Madej

Graphic Designer

As YMC’s in-house Graphic Designer, Hailey possesses an eye for detail and a drive to innovate. It’s no surprise though since being creative runs in the family! Inspired from an early age by her mom’s work as a Graphic Designer, Hailey is a seasoned expert whose talents bring vitality and accessibility to every project. As a UX/UI designer, she expertly blends the intuitive and the creative for all to enjoy.
In addition to the occasional freelance project, Hailey also lends her abilities to supporting art initiatives within her community, such as the Belleville Mural Project. Her favorite aspect of joining the YMC team is the friendly, uplifting culture and breadth of design tasks. When it comes to marketing, she believes in pushing boundaries and maybe breaking some rules to capture her audience’s attention. Her advice to those just starting out? “Always seek quality over quantity.”

Dexter Ochoa

Development Assistant

When it comes to blending logical thinking and creative problem solving, Dexter’s abilities are undeniable! Beginning his career as a Web Developer, he’s no stranger to the wide world of Marketing and Advertising. Calling Biñan City in the Philippines home, Dexter has a burning desire to visit the Alpine peaks and valleys of Switzerland. While that journey may be far off, he is still no stranger to international travel. While visiting Japan, he was able to enjoy his favorite delicacy: Sushi and Sashimi. He also learned unexpected facts about Japanese Yen, specifically that it has special markings for the blind to know its value!

Living life by his motto to “Do good even if the world is unfair,” Dexter would also advise his younger self, “It’s hard, but you’re doing good!” Whether he’s enjoying a cup of coffee in the morning or the occasional Pale Pilsen in the evening, Dexter is eager to work with the talented professionals of YMC, and we’re just as eager to add his talent to the team as well! His marketing words of wisdom? “Be creative, and just do what you want!”

Andrew Wyche


Hailing from the NC state capital (that’s Raleigh if you didn’t know), Andrew is YMC’s Copywriter extraordinaire. That’s why he knows that “The verb form of ‘reconnaissance’ is ‘reconnoiter.’ The former is, strictly speaking, a noun.” Seriously, he knows his words and he’ll use those words to get bold and weird (in a good way) with his copy. Fuelled by a love for pasta, shellfish, a good single malt, or a meal consisting of all three, Andrew navigates life with a motto engraved in his heart: “Choose kindness. Always.” It is this guiding principle that has led him to explore the realm of marketing, driven by a desire to connect with people in meaningful ways. As he continues to chase his dreams, one bucket list item stands out above the rest – a pilgrimage to Scotland. With his heart set on adventure and his pen poised for creativity, Andrew’s journey is far from over.

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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