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How many people attend your credit union or bank’s strategic planning session? Ten? Twelve? More? Regardless of the number of voices, have you ever paused to really consider just how many are actually heard?

 

By “heard” I mean people that, either on their own or at the prompting of others, take the time to speak out and make their opinions heard.

 

If yours is like a lot of other financial institutions, it’s likely that not everyone attending your strategic planning sessions actually speaks up. Some people are just naturally softer spoken. Some groups have a single dominant voice that takes over. Others are simply bored.

 

A key component for strategic planning success at any credit union or bank is that all voices at the table are encouraged and heard. There are just too many critical conversations that need to be had in this new decade in order to keep your organization from becoming irrelevant.

 

This is where an experienced outside facilitator can be invaluable.

 

Here’s what a skilled facilitator will do for you and your team:

 

  • Prevent one or two voices from dominating the table
  • Encourage thoughts and comments from everyone
  • Inspire soft-spoken participants to express their opinions
  • Keep the meeting strategically focused and on-task
  • Reduce boredom
  • Make the session fun

 

Strategic planning facilitators also offer that invaluable outside perspective and shouldn’t be afraid to approach any potential elephants in the room that inhibit progress. They can act as an “air traffic controller” for the conversation and help you avoid common strategic planning traps (like becoming too complacent). They can also ask/promote all participants to dig and think deeper, thereby soliciting more meaningful input for the overall strategic planning process, without fear of unnecessarily irritating anyone.

 

These are all compelling reasons to partner with a strategic planner at your next session. Has your credit union or bank ever considered such a partnership and, if so, what were the results?

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