5 Ways to Build a Successful Strategic Plan
According to the Alliance Professional Group, 70% of strategic plans fail. You read that right. My guess is the number is at least that high at many credit unions.
Think of your last or current strategic plan. How many initiatives were partially completed, deferred or flat out stopped before the plan was put on a shelf? Sometimes the best outcome of strategic planning is not greater analytic insight. It's greater resolve.
If credit unions want more effective strategic plans, they must start with better resolve. So, before you start the strategic planning process at your credit union, make the following resolutions.
Resolve to involve all
Effective strategic plans involve everyone in your credit union, not just the board and the executive team. It's your loan officers, member service representatives and even tellers who will execute the plan so make sure you get their involvement and buy-in with the plan. If you are acting like the Wizard of Oz creating a grand scheme behind a curtain then your plan is destined for failure.
Resolve to make hard decisions
We tend to avoid hard decisions. But if you want your plan to succeed you better have those hard conversations. Discussions like “what are we going to do to stay relevant in the next three years?” “how are we allocating our resources” and “who or what is holding our team back?” Stop talking and start deciding.
Resolve to focus
Too many strategic plans are not strategic. They are just a tactical regurgitation of your yearly goal to hit a certain net income number. Rather than letting numbers, ratios and peer group analysis guide your discussions, let strategies dictate where you want to go as a credit union. When you are in a planning session make sure the discussions stay on the strategic level and don't stray to the tactical side of things.
Resolve to use help
You can't do strategic planning by yourself. You need an outsiders’ perspective to guide you through the many pitfalls of building a strategy. Ultimately, what's more expensive – a strategic planning facilitator or a failed strategic plan? The best strategic plans do not come in a do-it-yourself kit.
Resolve to allocate resources
Don't even bother putting a strategic initiative in the plan if you are not going to commit the dollars to it.
Mark Arnold is president of On the Mark Strategies. He can be reached at 214-538-4147 or firstname.lastname@example.org.