A seussical strategical planning experience

“Bang-ups and Hang-ups can happen to you. You can get all hung up in a prickle-ly perch. And your gang will fly on. You’ll be left in a Lurch. You’ll come down from the Lurch with an unpleasant bump. And the chances are, then that you’ll be in a Slump. And when you’re in a Slump, you’re not in for much fun. Un-slumping yourself is not easily done.”

Good leaders spend a lot of time and energy doing everything they can to make good decisions for their credit union. Despite that, sometimes things still don’t go the we planned or hoped.

If the first paragraph sounds oddly familiar, you might have read it in the book “Oh the Places You’ll Go” by Dr. Seuss. Remember when the little guy, the star of the story, finds himself in that place where the streets aren’t marked and the windows were mostly dark? It was frightening, lonely, and his confidence was lacking. Just when you thought Dr. Seuss would tell us exactly how to get out, our spirits were crushed to find there was no easy way out. Perhaps you’ve been to this place on occasion… a place of confusion or frustration when things just don’t go your way. It’s that “Waiting Place” where it seems like the only thing to do is to hold on for things to change.

The problem is that just holding on and waiting for change isn’t a great plan. It’s a good thing strategic planning season is here! As we enjoy the fun of summer, the season of change is near – as are so many strategic planning sessions. It’s an opportunity for us to examine what was right, what was wrong, and what was confused within our organizations in 2017. If you found your credit union in a prickle-ly perch, here are 5 ideas to help you come down from that Lurch:

  • Acknowledge you’re in a slump.  Sometimes it’s just easier to pretend that things are okay, but it has always caught up with me. The flawed idea of staying the same is comfortable. A fear of change isn’t worth making waves. Being self-aware as well as checking in with yourself when those emotions that bubble up is a good place to start.
  • Be gentle with your ego.  It IS ok to be in a slump. Know that you aren’t the only one who has ever failed or taken the wrong path. Failure should be embraced – as long as it is followed with understanding why you failed, what you learned from it, and how you’re going to move forward for success.
  • Check in with yourself. What is it that you and your team don’t like about how things are going? Ask yourself what parts are okay. Leave those parts in. There is no need to reinvent the wheel. Sometimes it feels like you need to start over and just throw the baby out with the bathwater. It looks more productive but that’s not always the case!
  • Analyze how you got here.  What decisions were made (or not made) that led to where you stand today? What other decisions were there, and what would the possible outcomes have been? It’s not too late to change course!
  • Make a plan. That old overused saying “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail” is true. Plan for some open, honest, and difficult discussion during your strategic planning session. Check your ego at the door, talk about the facts, ask a lot of questions, gain proper perspective, and plan your tactics around the strategy that will lead you out of your slump.

If 2017 has been a “slump” of a year, remember this:

Kid, you’ll move mountains! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So get on your way! 


Bo McDonald

Bo McDonald

Bo McDonald is president of Your Marketing Co. A marketing firm that started serving credit unions nearly a decade ago, offering a wide range of services including web design, branding, ... Web: yourmarketing.co Details

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