Autumn isn’t the only season for strategic planning sessions – every year more banks and credit unions opt to hold their sessions at different times of the year. Regardless of when you conduct your strategic planning session, however, there are keys to success you can learn from ahead of time. Following are a few.

  • Begin with the end in mind. Ask yourself a few simple questions before the strategic planning session; questions such as “what would be the outcome of a perfect strategic planning session?” or “how in the world will we measure the results of our strategic initiatives?” As author Jim Collins notes, if you “begin with the end in mind,” your chances as strategic planning success increase.
  • Diagnose your strategic planning team. Think about the people that will be around the table. Is the chemistry there? Is it an amicable group? Do they trust each other? Are there open hostilities and/or hidden discord? The makeup of your strategic planning team directly impacts the success or failure of the session. Build a team that you know will work not only together but also in the best interests of your bank or credit union.
  • Consider asking everyone at the strategic planning session a simple question. First question, first day. Something like: “What is our vision/mission statement?” If everyone can readily reply correctly, it’s a great sign. However, if you get lots of ummms and ahhhhs and not a lot of correct responses, that’s a challenge. If your strategic planning team is unfamiliar with the existing vision/mission of your financial institution, how can they be expected to craft initiatives to help it grow?

October, February, June — the month really doesn’t matter. What is important is that your strategic planning session generate quantifiable, identifiable and inspirational goals for your bank or credit union. Beginning with the end in mind, diagnosing your strategic planning team and quizzing attendees on the vision/mission statement are a few of the ways you can help build a strategic planning session towards this end.