Get the latest news and information from CU Insight delivered to you anywhere.




Are You Checking or Wrecking Your Credit Union Strategic Efforts

Posted by James Robert Lay, CU Grow on February 8, 2013


By. James Robert Lay, PTP NEW MEDIA & CU*SWAG

Time is flying this year as we are already in February. How are you fairing on implementing your credit union’s strategic plan? Good, I hope. Or, are you already more focused on just making sure the items on your strategic plan get checked off the list?

I have had the privilege to facilitate several strategic sessions over the past few years to encourage credit unions looking to destroy the box and blaze trails develop a focus on people, product and process.

Often times after a long day of sharing thoughts and ideas, in addition to reviewing and analyzing where the credit union has been and where they are looking to go, a strategic plan is made for the following year(s) with a list of strategic goals or objectives to accomplish.

This is where I see a problem begin to occur. The list of goals or objectives quickly become a checklist of “things” that the credit union “needs” to do for the following year(s) to come. For example, “things” I have heard include:

  • Develop a Gen Y program
  • Get a Facebook page
  • Launch mobile banking
  • Redesign our web site
  • Get into social media
  • Introduce PFM
  • Offer bill pay to members
  • Provide sales and service training

And the list goes on and on…

The big question I have to ask about this checklist is “why?”

Why is your credit union doing these things? Is it because it’s a “strategic goal” or the means to achieve the “strategic goal?” Are there real objectives and measurable items to determine if a specific “strategic” item was a success?

Many times I have seen this checklist mentality bastardize the original strategic intent of the “goal.” A particular item quickly becomes a routine effort to ensure it gets checked off the list so we can say we “accomplished” all our goals at the end of the year. Or, once the “goal” has been achieved, we rush quickly off to the next one, wondering why at the end of the year the “goal” was a flop.

Could it be that the time was not truly taken to ensure this “strategic goal” was planned, launched and implemented accordingly but instead rushed to market? Is it possible there have been too many “strategic goals” set during the planning session?

Even more, could this be for the fact that the “strategic goals” we set are not really goals at all but more of a task to accomplish? These could be the reason your credit union’s digital channel is deadly.

Resolve to focus on the end goal(s) you have set this year so as not to be distracted by routinely working through a checklist of items.

In short, check yourself before you wreck yourself.


James Robert Lay
For over a decade, I have been leading CU Grow to build digital marketing and lead generation systems for select credit unions. My primary role as CEO is to keep focus on the vision and direction of the company. I also work to help credit ...

Read More »
Post a Comment

CU Partner Profiles see more »

  • Buzz Points provides your credit union with an innovative, community-focused rewards program. It is the only reward program [...] read more

  • Weber Marketing Group is a strategic branding and marketing consulting agency focused on the financial industry. We specialize [...] read more

  • NAFCU is Your Direct Connection to Education, Advocacy and Advancement The National Association of Federal Credit Unions is [...] read more

  • Ongoing Operations was formed in 2005 as a business continuity CUSO by a group of credit unions looking [...] read more

  • Hyland, creator of OnBase For more than 20 years Hyland, creator of OnBase has been a dedicated resource [...] read more