Strategic Gap Analysis: What are YOU missing?

So you’re a CU and you’ve just completed your annual strategic planning session. You’ve identified some areas of opportunity. You feel like you’ve got a roadmap to success. You can see where the peaks and valleys are.

Now what?

At EmpowerFi, we get to see a lot of clients who performed strategic planning sessions or marketing audits that turned into well-intended “strategies”. What we also see while we’re in the nitty gritty of a CU’s plans and actions, is that there’s often some crucial, foundational pieces of their strategy missing that would close the gap from vision to impactful execution.

What often ends up happening is that people mistake a goal for a strategy. A team sits down and identifies what they want to ultimately be the result of their efforts, they roll that vision out to a team and then everyone puts their hands in and gets really excited and says “GO ON THREE…1…2…3….GO!” and everyone disperses to go forth and do….What exactly?

Great question. A desired result or goal doesn’t communicate how we’re going to get there. If the goal represents the “what”, your strategy is the “how”. All too often, that part is missing. Which means that by the time the session or audit is over, no one is really any closer to the goal than when they began.

The chart above shows what a typical trickledown strategy should look like. A thorough, comprehensive strategic plan flows from the main goals down through various departments, to even the smallest tasks required to make those goals happen. All subsequent strategies, projects and tactics should support the overall strategic plan. 

The biggest strategy gap we see is that individual departments take the strategic plan (the umbrella) and dive right into action when what really needs to happen is for that strategic plan to be a starting point to develop each departmental plan so that everything your staff does supports the goals of the organization.

Take Marketing for example…you cannot just take a strategic goal of “Increase used auto loan balances by 5%” and start developing tactics and projects. You need an actual marketing strategy behind those campaigns and tactics.

 Example of Marketing Strategy Goals: 

  • Marketing goal #1: Acquire $4m in refinanced auto loans
  • Marketing Goal #2: Increase Indirect Auto Loans by $2m per month

The most important part of strategy is delegation and from there, accountability. Basically – who is doing what and how do we know if they’re getting that done? To achieve this, start by holding regular meetings with clear agendas to make sure everyone is on task and still creating for the greater good of the organizational strategy. If necessary, develop subsidiary teams to help facilitate projects and accountability (i.e. Product Development Team).

Some additional questions to ask yourself when developing individual department strategies could be:

  • How can my department support these growth goals?
  • What does success look like in my department?
  • Who is owning which parts of the departmental plan?
  • Who will hold staff accountable for achieving each goal?
  • What does success look like for each specific goal?
  • By-when does each step need to be accomplished to support the organizational goals?

Strategy isn’t actually a strategy without actionable steps that are owned by members of your team in each phase and division of your plan. Strategic planning doesn’t just give you all the material to ensure that your goals are met. It empowers your team to really invest in the vision of your brand by allowing them to have skin in the game and show up to the table with their unique ideas.

Caught the strategy bug? Click here to dive deeper into what we have to say at EmpowerFi about mastering strategy.

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