Five questions to challenge your credit union in 2017

It’s the start of a new year. Which means your local gym is probably packed, many diets have been started and a host of other self-improvement plans put into place to coincide with New Year’s resolutions. However, as we all know, resolutions are easy to drop. In a couple of weeks, for example, that gym parking lot will be close to empty again and pantries stuffed full of comfort food.

When it comes to making real, substantial changes to the way your credit union conducts business in the new year, it’s better to approach it more from a position of strategic questions rather than well-intended resolutions. With that in mind, consider the following five questions to pose at your next management or board meeting. While the answers might surprise you, addressing them now can help you build a better 2017.

  • What is the one thing only our credit union can do for members? This is a great question to start with because you cannot truthfully knee-jerk reply with boring answers like service, products or friendliness. While you certainly may be or offer those things, any of your competitors can say the same. Dig deep. What is the one thing only your credit union can do for its members?
  • What is our fall-back plan for 2017 setbacks? Sure, we’re all planning for great success in the new year. But the reality is that every year also comes with setbacks. Does your credit union have a contingency plan in place to deal with potential bumps in the road?
  • What should we stop doing? We’re all great at adding things to our to-do lists. However, these lists grow into unwieldy monsters if we’re not careful. One of the most difficult questions to answer is not what should we do; rather — what should we stop doing? What can you strike off that list that will enable your team to focus its time and energy on other efforts?
  • What are our member pain points? In other words, about what do your members voice concerns or complaints? Do they dislike your hours? Do you regularly hear how antiquated your website is? Is the suggestion box stuffed with gripes about member service? Odds are, your members will voice their pain points to you. Take those comments seriously and address them directly.
  • What is the one issue we are most reluctant to discuss? As with most other leadership teams, management groups at credit unions are terrific at sitting around the table and talking. However, they also tend to avoid the most important (or potentially volatile) issues. For your credit union to grow, you must address that 500-pound gorilla. You can do it with tact and in a constructive way, but address it you must.

Again, the answer to these questions will not necessarily come easy and may serve as a surprise to you and your team. However, corporate entities (like credit unions) tend to grow only when they feel challenged or uncomfortable. So just like the millions of other Americans this month pondering sweating off all that tasty holiday food, maybe it’s time your credit union jumps on the strategic planning question treadmill and gets to work.

Mark Arnold

Mark Arnold

Mark Arnold is an acclaimed speaker, brand expert and strategic planner helping businesses such as credit unions and banks achieve their goals with strategic marketing insights and energized training. Mark ... Web: Details