Good Governance: Achieving a strategic rhythm

Successfully keeping in step with your CEO and executive team goes well beyond holding annual planning retreats.

As recently as 10 years ago, many credit unions did not have a strategic plan. As rapid change and financial disruption came to financial services, CUs caught up with the rest of corporate America and now it’s hard to find a credit union that doesn’t have an annual retreat and resulting plan document. Despite this investment, national board surveys across all business domains suggest boards believe they lack a strategic orientation, don’t spend enough time on strategy, and spend way too much time looking into the rear-view mirror.

We know that boards of directors set mission, values, direction and strategy for their organization—and, as such, must act as a strategic asset partnering actively with the CEO and executive team. This calls for an annual rhythm for addressing, tracking and recalibrating strategy that assures time for authentic dialogue, risk assessment and innovative thinking about a vibrant and relevant future for the organization. High performance boards achieve this by (a) having an annual discipline around developing, approving, and tracking strategy and (b) investing close to 70 percent of board effort on strategic thinking and planning.

Achieving a Rhythm

A strategic rhythm is a strong, regular and systematic pattern of developing business awareness, considering strategic scenarios, creating strategic initiatives, re-calibrating strategy in real time as tactics are rolled out and, ultimately, strategically tracking achievement. This goes way beyond the once-a-year annual retreat.

continue reading »