What’s wrong and what’s right with strategic thinking

Imagine you are in an airplane flying coast-to-coast, cruising at 30,000 feet. There are the mountains and valleys, cityscapes with twinkling lights, barren land and farmland – and let us not forget those little circles on the ground (they are center-pivot irrigation systems, by the way). You can see a lot… albeit a bit of a blur.

Furthermore, if you were on the ground in LeBanon, Kan., you might be able to picture in your mind what the landscape looks like in Fresno, Calif., or Norfolk, Va., but you really can’t see it.

What does each approach have in common? There’s a lack of clarity.

I have sat through various strategic planning sessions. Most facilitators talk at you rather than engage with you. Lots of numbers are shared from a “30,000-foot view.” The SWOT analysis tends to oversimplify things. Goals are written down, but then they are shelved to review the following year. As a result, most credit union executives ask themselves, “Why call in a third-party facilitator when we can do that on our own?”

Stop. Timeout.

 

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