A road map for linking innovation with strategy

Technology is not required, but change is—and with change comes the expectation of improvement.

A credit union’s strategy must evaluate the internal and external factors it will encounter on our journey through ordinary times and totally unprecedented circumstances like the COVID-19 pandemic and help its leaders create a sustainable competitive advantage to remain relevant to members, as well as provide long-term viability regardless of future economic circumstances.

Over the better part of the past three decades, I’ve led board and management team members through the strategic planning process. In the early years, we debated the importance of keeping up with new technological innovations and allocating resources to these new ways of doing business.

Questions popped up like: “Is it really important to have a website?” “Will members feel comfortable with the idea of having their personal information being accessible via the Internet?” “Is an automated loan-decisioning model really better than looking the member in the eye?”

We spent weeks doing cost/benefit analysis, trying to determine whether we wanted to be “on the bleeding edge” or “fast followers.” We ultimately determined what resources we’d be willing to commit to implementing cutting-edge advances. The process continued through the next several decades.


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