“When you get an entire organization that’s mindful of its wake, some pretty incredible things can happen.”
—Kip Tindell, CEO, The Container Store

In his book Uncontainable, Kip Tindell, CEO of The Container Store, talks a great deal about the importance of wake. By wake, Tindell refers to those waves and ripples of consequences that follow our every action.

So what is the wake your strategic plan is leaving?

Every action you take in your long-range planning session will impact your credit union or bank. It will leave a wake. And not just directly, but indirectly as well. Those ripples can be positive or negative.

With every decision you make you must consider its effect on at least three key areas. Keep in mind the following items when it comes to your plan’s ripples.

Your focus

Much of strategic planning has to do with choices and priorities. In other words, you can’t do every possible strategic initiative. With every choice you make you are also choosing NOT to do something else.

One of the best practical things you can do in a strategic planning session is to have an honest discussion about focus. You should cut, cut and cut again until you have the absolute most important two or three items narrowed down when it comes to your goals, objectives and priorities. Just remember, that focus will have ripple effects on initiatives you WON’T do.

Limiting your focus leaves a wake by removing the unimportant.

Your staff

More than likely, your staff is overwhelmed with all they need to accomplish. If you are presenting a 20 page plus strategic planning document most of them won’t read it, much less understand and embrace and it.

So how does the strategic plan you developed impact your staff? Take some time in your session to address that question. No matter how well written or smart your plan is, it’s your staff that will execute it (or NOT execute it). One of the biggest ripples of a strategic plan is how it effects your employees.

Helping your staff understand your plan leaves a wake by removing their confusion.

Your target audiences

You can’t be all things to all people. So stop trying. Choosing who you want to reach absolutely impacts those that are not in your niche audience. For example, if you need to get younger as an institution then one of the wakes you might leave is stop designing products and services for the older generations.

When crafting your strategic plan you must always keep your target audiences in mind. Start with the “who” question before the “what” and “how” questions.

Focusing on a few key groups leaves a wake by removing an “all things to all people” philosophy.

For every action you take in strategic planning, there is an equal reaction. There are wakes you leave with your focus, your staff and your target audiences. Keep all three in mind and the impact your decisions have on each.