Credit unions + Muhammad Ali = A fresh look at strategic planning

Muhammad Ali was one of the best boxers of our generation and his legacy will live on forever, as will his most famous quote “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.” Ali was a phenomenal boxer as well as an inspiration to all and in the wake of his recent death, many more quotes have come to surface that prove what a hardworking and big dreamer the man truly was. Many of these quotes can and should be applied to the way you look at strategy, how you motivate your team, and how you conduct your strategic planning sessions to elevate and build your credit union’s legacy.

“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.”

In today’s competitive and ever-changing marketplace, it is more important than ever to adjust your goals annually and discover new and exciting directions in which to lead your credit union. In this industry, taking risks and trying new things can seem intimidating, however, without risks your growth will remain stagnant and in the end you likely will not see the profits that you are seeking.

“Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it.”

As you evaluate your call reports, you may find that your performance is not up to par with your original goals, and the outcome is not as you expected. You may find that your credit union has veered away from your goals and has fallen off the tracks so to speak. It may seem daunting and almost impossible to recharge your engines and start fresh but remember, nothing is impossible. A new strategic direction is attainable and possible if you are willing to take the first step, reassess your goals, and work toward a new a strategic direction for your institution.

“The only limitations one has are the ones they place on themselves.”

Believe in yourself and your credit union. Believe in your staff and your ability to reach new goals. Even a goal that may seem unattainable can be accomplished with time, hard work, a fresh outlook, and faith in your abilities as a unit. If you find that your credit union has been lackluster and is in a metaphoric slump, try enlisting the help of an outside resource, a fresh set of eyes. Ask your employees for suggestions. The sky is the limit! Never throw in the towel; you simply must have belief in your credit union, your members, and your staff to push your credit union to be the best that it can be.

“To be a great champion you must believe you are the best. If you’re not, pretend you are.”

Banking is a competitive industry, no matter how you slice it, especially with the introduction of conglomerates like Wal-Mart, Target, and State Farm entering the market. With so much competition, there will always be someone who is bigger and better and outperforming your credit union. You may not always be #1 in your market, but that doesn’t mean you can’t act like you are. One way to take your credit union to that next level is by acting like you’re already there. Make financial decisions as if you are already the model institution that you want to be. Make hiring decisions as if you were the number one employer in your market. Don’t sell yourself short. Simply wishing you were at that $100m, $500m or $1B asset mark won’t get you anywhere, but acting as if you’re already there, will. Remember, the secret to having it all is believing you already do.

“It isn’t the mountain ahead to climb that wears you out. It’s the pebble in your shoe.”

Never let the small things derail your mission. Keep your eyes on the prize and keep climbing. Everyone will hit bumps in the road during the growth process. You’ll have a member complaint or two, a few bad loans, perhaps even a not-so-positive NCUA exam here and there, but those who succeed in the end are the ones who don’t let the “pebbles” determine their destiny. Continue to monitor and adjust your strategies and goals to reach the top of your mountain.

Looking a fresh start, and new outlook on strategic planning? Request more information about strategic planning facilitation HERE.

Hilary Reed

Hilary Reed

Hilary Reed, founder of EmpowerFi, is an innovative thought-leader who has been involved in various aspects of strategic sales and marketing for 15 years. Her career began in 2000 when ... Web: Details