Strategic-PlanningIt’s that time of year again: strategic planning sessions is here. Once autumn hits, it’s not just football season—it’s planning season. Whether it’s finding a facilitator or gathering data, there are many steps we can take before the session to ensure the planning process goes smoothly.

Every year I blog about “10 Questions to Ask At Your Strategic Planning Session.” While those were applicable in 2013 (and you can still use them this year), here are some fresh questions for 2014. In fact, you can ask these questions in a pre-session survey of attendees (I do that with many of my planning clients).

Regardless of how you use them, below are ten questions you should ask during your strategic planning session.

(1) How are we going to build a true digital channel? How can we better integrate our digital strategy with our sales strategy and our branching strategy?

(2)  In 140 characters, what is the “big idea” we want consumers to know about our financial institution?

(3) There are “5 Bs” of branding (be intentional, be focused, be sincere, be consistent, be centered). How is our brand doing in these three areas and where can we improve our brand?

(4) What can we do to provide a better experience for consumers and how can we better engage consumers with our brand?

(5) What unique training are we going to give our employees this year?

(6) Why do we exist as an organization?

(7) What is the number one thing we must do to grow our financial institution?

(8) What is our financial institution’s story? How can we better tell that story?

(9) What must we change? What do we need to do different?

(10) When the calendar flips to December, 2015, what do we want to say we accomplished this year?

Those are a few ideas to help you kick-start your strategic planning discussion. They are designed as open-ended questions to start your executive team and board of directors thinking.

What other questions would you add to the list?