An old adage goes, “The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago; the next best time is today.”

 

You could easily say the same for strategic planning (although we certainly hope the strategic plans at your credit unions or community banks aren’t 20 years old!).

 

The seeds you plant with strategic planning right now, today, during this pandemic, are the trees your bank or credit union will grow twenty years from now. Are you ready? Click To Tweet

 

Here’s why strategic plans are more important now than ever:

 

The ongoing pandemic continues to sucker punch banks and credit unions where it hurts. It’s also left-hooking members. Since credit unions and community banks enjoy a symbiotic relationship with consumers, we need them and they need us.

 

Of course, strategic planning requires focus and commitment.

 

It takes and determination. Careful thinking, risk-taking and delegation. Did you notice that these are pretty much all the same elements required of any strategic plan in any era? In other words, you can do this.

 

For better or worse, 2020 is pretty much a done deal. The smart move is to look into 2021 and beyond. A proactive strategic plan that accomplishes this will:

 

  • Refocus your board
  • Reenergize your executive leadership team
  • Realign your staff with evolving priorities

 

A recent article from Forbes notes that most retail entities (including credit unions and community banks) have not changed their primary mission since the pandemic. We’re still here to serve the financial needs of consumers. We still help them trek the treacherous financial times ahead.

 

While the primary driver for financial institutions hasn’t changed, many of our tried-and-true delivery vehicles have.

 

For example, an enhanced focus on virtual consumer interaction is probably in order if you had a branch-heavy marketing strategy. Strategic planning helps better position your credit union or community bank for these changes.

 

Your members are likely scared and uncertain. Heck, I wouldn’t blame you if you were scared and uncertain! There’s nothing wrong with that; it’s a natural human response to an unexpected and disrupting event. What we can do as an industry, however, is choose in what way we respond to the current crisis and plan/navigate a chart through and past it. That’s where your strategic plan comes in.

 

So let me ask you this: what kind of trees are you planting? Will they make it to the next 20 years?

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