As we enter the time when we start looking ahead to the next year, your credit union strategic plan might be complete, or you plan to work on it very soon. Regardless, you want it to be more than a dusty document on the shelf or a forgotten file in your digital folder.
Having gaining perspective from conducting many credit union strategic planning sessions over the last 15 plus years, I wanted to share three thoughts with you. Thoughts that aren’t top secret or even groundbreaking. Reminders really of three basic things that will ensure you get the most out of your strategic plan.
- A strategic planning session is not an idea review. A strategic planning session is also not a budget forecast or review. A strategic discussion is how you are going to accomplish your growth goals over the next three to five years. Set your goals. Make sure they are just enough out of reach currently that it forces you to think strategically about what needs to change to be able to reach those goals, though you couldn’t even fathom reaching those goals currently.
- Revert to assertive inquiry. Our default mode when we participate in group discussions like strategic planning is typically advocacy, arguing in favor of your own conclusions, theories and statements about the truth of your own point of view. Assertive inquiry blends advocacy (the explicit expression of your own thinking) with inquiry (the sincere exploration of the thinking of others). Notice I used the term sincere – listening to actually listen and not respond. In the end, assertive inquiry makes you understand: “I have a view worth hearing, but I might be missing something.”
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