Strategic planning is both an obligation and an opportunity. Credit unions who plan well and execute well are the ones you read about today … growing faster, staying more relevant and becoming financially stronger. What makes one credit union’s plan better than another? Often, it is about how you plan as much as what you plan.
Here are four ways to achieve more out of your planning process:
- Stay Strategic! I have had the opportunity of working with organizations for more than 30 years in their planning processes. What I’ve observed is that our comfort lies in tactics over strategy. As a result, efforts drive to shorter term results. The key to great strategy is to stay strategic. Drive the conversations and planning efforts at true long-term strategic initiatives (at least three years in the future) before you focus on the short-term strategies and tactics to achieve those goals.
- Focus on fewer strategic initiatives. Once you gain momentum around your strategic focus, ensure you don’t take on too much. You will achieve far more with three-to-five strong initiatives to drive greater results. Your resources (talent, time and money) will achieve a greater return on their investment with a few strong, high-impact initiatives.
- Prioritize tough. Not only is it important to focus on fewer initiatives, but they must be prioritized to achieve best results. This allows you to make tough decisions when resources become tighter, and you want to achieve better results. Create a simple scoring system to prioritize all activities and to be consistent with how you measure their importance.
- Execute well. Now is the time to focus on the right strategies and tactics that will help drive results on your most important initiatives. Develop a solid plan with clear timelines, roles and responsibilities. Ensure that managers and leaders are accountable for continuous progress to milestones and results through a cadence of review meetings and reporting.
As a final note, teach your teams about leading indicators (true drivers of results), so they can understand how the right actions lead to your desired results. Effort doesn’t guarantee results. However, strategic activities, tied to the right measures, will help you achieve more.
Want to learn more? Register for the “Discovery Conference: Planning Strategically in a Changing World” held August 17. The conference is a free, online resource for credit union executives.