Considerations of Strategic Planning
by Jim Kasch, Canidae Consulting
There are several viable approaches to planning for your credit union’s future, and there are countless tools, techniques, and methodologies you can employ. From traditional SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) to identification of core competencies to scenario planning, the practice of strategic planning is in many ways a matter of taste. What’s most important is that the leadership team breaks out of the day-to-day, near-thinking cycle in order to best chart the course for future credit union success.
There are three primary considerations when you and your team dedicate time thinking of the future:
Answering “What could be?” requires bold thinking. It includes understanding the dynamics of the financial services industry, the credit union’s primary stakeholders, the evolving nature of competition, and taking a fresh approach to the credit union’s system of contributing parties (the credit union’s ecosystem). Considering what could be is not the time to think about resource restrictions, talent gaps, or wishful thinking as it pertains to the economy. This is the long-term state for the credit union, between five and ten years into the future. What could your credit union be? What could it become?
Shifting thoughts to “What can be?” forces our feet back on the ground. We consider the state of our three main resource groups: time, treasure, and talent. Do we have the talent on hand to effectively build and execute the strategic plan? Do we have the financial resources necessary to pay for the people, the technology, and the improvements needed to make our future a reality? Are there more pressing issues that rob us of the time it takes to execute the plan?
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we must consider “What ought to be?” Is our future state consistent with our core values? Does it align with our higher purpose? Does it support the reasons we exist at all? We may conjure a dozen possible futures for the credit union, but if those futures run counter to our philosophy, they should be considered poison. Additionally, what ought to be helps us determine the approach we take to executing the plan – the timing, the continued focus on providing unparalleled value, access, and service to all of our stakeholders, which includes our employees and volunteers.
Obviously, there is significantly more to a robust and effective strategic plan than acknowledging these considerations. We must understand our business, who we are, who we serve, and what they value. We must be honest with ourselves as we consider our future. But all credit unions, regardless of size or level of sophistication, can benefit from answering these three important questions.
If you are interested in learning more about how Canidae Consulting can help your credit union consider and plan for your future, please contact Jim Kasch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also contact George McDonald, DakCU’s Chief Officer of Strategic Services with any questions.
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