We will not remember this year’s Super Bowl just for the teams that played, Beyoncé’s halftime show or the commercials. Rather, the most significant occurrence was the 34-minute blackout (power outage) that covered half the stadium in darkness.

The biggest game of the year. Millions of people watching. The players in the middle of trying to win a world championship. And the lights go out—the stadium loses power.

The same thing can happen with your credit union or bank’s strategic plan. It’s an important document (one of the most important you’ll produce all year). Your managers are watching. Your staff is trying to implement it. And if you’re not careful the lights can go out and your strategic plan can lose its power.

Here are three ways to put a “surge protector” on your strategic plan so its effectiveness continues all year long:

(1) Talk about the plan with staff on a regular basis. Communicating your strategic plan and goals is not a one-time thing. In fact, you need to routinely talk about it with all staff (tellers, loan officers, etc.) and not just the managers. I recommend that any time you have a staff meeting (monthly, quarterly, etc.) you spend a portion of the meeting referring back to your financial institution’s strategic plan. If you think you’re talking about it too much, you may just be hitting the mark.

(2) Connect staff jobs to the strategic plan. Every one’s job matters. And no matter what job they hold, your employees must see the connection their performance has to your strategy. Let’s be honest: it doesn’t matter what your strategic goals are if your staff doesn’t live them. The more connection they
see the better results you’ll have.

(3) Conduct a mid-year planning update. The most successful financial institutions today do not just look at their strategic plan once a year. In fact, many do mid-year planning updates with the executive staff, board or both. A one-day in-depth examination of your plan, your environment and adjustments is warranted. Financial institutions using this model are seeing improved strategic results.

If we’re not careful our strategic plans will lose their power. But taking the above steps can make sure you keep your strategic lights on.