Posted by Karen Houston-Johnson, President, Integrated Business Resources on 1/18/2017

Most all credit unions today are dealing with reduced profit margins, limited avenues for growth, increased operating costs and greater capital constraints. As a result, management should be more targeted in what it does and how it does it.

For many credit unions, creating a vision, core values and a strategic plan can be a daunting task. It requires management to accept that yesterday’s success does not guarantee tomorrow’s success. Rather than considering it another activity to check off, it needs to be a top priority, especially in our rapidly changing environment.

Make no mistake – even the best plan, without great execution, means nothing. Regardless of your credit union’s size, a strategic plan is the foundation on which all business activities can be connected and aligned.

Strategic Planning & Implementation

Below are four key ingredients to successful planning and implementation:

  1. Creating Vision and Direction that is Simple and Clear – A strategy may be fairly complicated at the highest level, but the closer it gets to the front line and marketplace, the simpler it has to be.
  2. A Good Plan – Is well thought out, challenges assumptions and is created with input from sources inside and outside of the organization.
  3. Great Execution – Requires commitment from the very top.  This commitment must be demonstrated through behavior, investment, communication, and accountability.  The Plan is a living document that must become part of the culture and updated to reflect changes in the environment on an ongoing basis.
  4. Communicate, Communicate, and Communicate! – Continuously, using different ways that connect individuals and their roles to the vision and success of the credit union.  Don’t communicate half way – close the loop by asking for feedback from all employees and all levels of the organization that are involved.

A well thought out strategic plan paired with great execution will result in organizational focus, accountability, and improved performance.

It’s also important to keep improving your strategic planning process.  Periodically, take a step back and review the purpose of strategic planning.  Double-check that the plan is creating clarity about why the credit union exists, what it stands for, how it brings unique value to the members, the marketplace and its direction for upcoming years.

Although it may seem daunting at first, there are solutions to most all of the challenges leaders face when creating a vision, credit union core values, and a strategic plan.  All that is required is reaching out to find some help!

If you need assistance with Strategic Planning, Leadership and Board Development, or Management and Board Succession Planning, OnBalance is here to help you with these important initiatives as well as Strategic Planning and Succession Planning.To learn more about all of the products and services we offer visit us at www.curesources.coop/onbalance.html  or contact Karen Houston-Johnson at khouston-johnson@curesources.coop, Howard Bufe at hbufe@curesources.coop or Dean Borland at dborland@curesources.coop.

Categories: Financial & Auditing, Sales & Service, Strategic Planning & Consulting, Succession Planning
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