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Why Is Our Strategy ….?

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BY KENNETH C. BATOR

When it comes to strategic planning for your credit union, there is no middle ground. It absolutely must be done well, diligently so. If your CU’s current strategy is not quite working, these three recommendations can help turn it in a more focused direction.

“I just wrote that for the regulator.” This is an actual quote from a conversation I had with a credit union CEO nearly five years ago. That was his response when I commented that the written plan seemed very sound and then asked, “Why are we not achieving our goals?”

I appreciated the honesty. And despite the opinions of a couple of my close friends during college, I’m not naïve enough to think that this CEO was alone in that sentiment. Some tasks need to get done well. Some tasks need to get done diligently well. And some tasks just simply need to be done, period.

However, strategic planning is a task that falls within that middle category. The process can be valuable if we are diligent in our approach not only during the actual planning session but also before and after the meeting. Looking at strategy as a practice or a progression, rather than simply a one- or two-day program, is what leads to implementation and execution.

After nearly 15 years of facilitating strategic planning sessions and writing plans here are three of the primary reasons I have witnessed as to why some strategies just don’t work:

  • It was a formality. I’ve heard and seen it before. It goes something like this: “Every year the board and executive teams go to Metropolis Gardens near the mountains.It’s a great time. We always look forward to it. We golf on Friday. There is a big reception and dinner on Saturday night. We even head into town with a few of the couples on Sunday and look at antiques. Oh, and we hold a strategic planning session on that Saturday morning too.”
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