History and tradition can serve as great comforters. They can also serve as detriments to your bank or credit union strategic planning session. Far too many financial institutions simply go through the paces when it comes to strategic planning, assuming the same format, templates, language, etc. that have always worked will continue to work.

For growth-minded banks and credit unions, nothing is further from the truth.

By their very nature as conservative fiscal entities, most banks and credit unions struggle with change. Change when it comes to your strategic planning process, however, is almost always a good thing. Think of it like an annual family gathering, such as Thanksgiving. Sure, it’s terrific and heartwarming to have the same people and their growing families gather around the table every year. But for crying out loud, just once wouldn’t it be nice if people brought more than green bean casserole and a Tupperware container of gelatinous cranberry sauce?

Daring questions are a great way to mix things up at strategic planning sessions. Of course, daring questions require an open corporate culture that not only encourages such questions but asks them of staff. Once your staff begins to open up with daring questions, senior leadership must be willing to give them a fair and open hearing rather than just lip service. After all, one of the primary goals of your strategic planning session should be to encourage animated and passionate discussion.

What are some examples of daring questions that can help drive a better strategic planning session for your bank or credit union? Consider the following:

  • What is the one thing that only our bank or credit union can do for consumers?
  • What are some things we should stop doing?
  • How do our consumers really feel about us?
  • How do the items we are considering putting in our strategic plan accurately reflecting our brand?
  • How passionate are we about completing items included in the strategic plan?
  • Where are we behind when it comes to making us extraordinary?

Daring questions such as these break the mold of the traditional (and, honestly, boring) bank and credit union strategic planning session. However, having the courage to ask and answer such daring questions will lead to deeper and more meaningful strategic planning sessions that mean more for staff, consumers and your financial institution/