It’s an exciting time of year. Despite the snow and cold temperature, the training alerts have started to sound for the Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10-mile Run. This race has the tagline of the Runner’s Rite of Spring, but to enjoy this rite, the time to get in the training groove is now.
Any runner will tell you it doesn’t matter how far or how fast you run, but that you lace up your sneakers and make the choice to do it. While the motivation to run may be varied, to stay healthy, beat stress or an appreciation for the taste of fine wine, it’s the discipline that makes a runner. Regardless of weather conditions or being “too busy”, a runner is simply someone who consistently makes the time to run. The same can be said for a successful approach to strategy at your credit union. Be consistent.
There was a great article from Money magazine a few months ago that featured a 100 year-old runner. He said “Some people think I run because I can, but that’s backward. I can, because I do.” The meaning applies to strategy and growth as well. If you don’t have a strategic plan, your credit union won’t be able to grow. Most people fall off the running wagon because they can’t be consistent. In the case of credit unions, it’s easy to get distracted by the latest quick growth tactic. It’s the consistency of always going back to your mission, vision and values to guide your strategy that fosters growth. Simply put, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.
Overcome the excuses and discover your strategic center. Here’s how to find your stride:
- Make the commitment – Pick a race, register, download a training calendar and then just do it. Now is the right time to look at your mission, vision and values and make sure your strategic direction is aligned. If not, make the commitment to refine your strategy and put together a project plan for when to take your strategic refinement over the finish line.
- Stay on track – Be consistent, but be flexible. The point is to train and that means doing the work and tracking your progress. If your training plan says run four times a week and cross train twice, then follow the plan. However, if you need to vary the days, maybe the long run fits into the schedule better on Sunday instead of Saturday, that’s ok. Running consistently is what matters. The same principle applies to strategy at your credit union. Commit to reviewing your strategic progress with your executives and management team. Start the year by having a meeting to get everyone on the same page (essentially picking your race and training calendar) then commit to project schedules and meetings to discuss progress. Giving your team the time needed to understand the initiatives and to evaluate decisions from the enterprise level will ensure that strategy will remain top of mind for everyone in your organization.
- Hit the streets – Lace up your sneakers and run, Forest, run! Stick to the plan and ask these questions with every new initiative or idea: is this course of action going to lead us closer to achieving our vision? Will this help us live our mission? If you consistently base strategic decisions on your mission, vision and values, your credit union will grow. Ask the questions consistently and you won’t find yourself chasing short-term growth tactics. You’ll focus on what’s important to your credit union and your plan will stay in shape to perform well race after race.
Just do it! Enjoy the training and discipline that your commitment to run and to staying strategic will bring to you and your organization. Plus, it’s not too late to contribute your expertise, time, or legs to the Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10-mile Run. See how you can get involved today by visiting http://www.miracleday.org/ to learn more or contacting Credit Union Miracle Day, Inc. Director
Ronda Polhamus at firstname.lastname@example.org or (443) 325-0778.
See you on race day!