“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

—Gandalf

 

We are officially at the halfway point of 2021 (depending on when you read this post). July 1. Start of quarter three. 181 days. 121 working days. To some, that may seem like a lot. To others, not enough.

 

No matter how you view the time remaining (too much, too little, just right), the halfway point of the year is here.

 

As a financial institution leader, the most valuable asset you have is time. It’s the one thing you can’t get more of. So what are you doing with that asset? One thing you should absolutely be doing with your time is marking it (no put intended). And there is no better marking point than the halfway point of the year.

 

Here are three things (or three “Ps”) you should do at the halfway point of 2021:

 

Pause

Credit union and community bank leaders tend to go, go and go. However, one of the most important things you do as a leader is reflect. This is all about pausing (something Type A personalities struggle with). What wins have you had this year? Where have you struggled?

 

It’s so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day of running a financial institution or leading your department/branch that you forget to slow down and do an assessment. While pausing never leads to growth, it’s an important practice to grow. One of the best things you can do to move forward is reflect. Take a few moments to pause.

 

Push On

At the halfway mark, many of us feel tired. In this day and age of COVID and now post-COVID, we’re all under a great deal of stress. Especially if you are doing marketing, branding and leadership for a credit union or community bank. You’ve felt enormous pressure of what to do with all that stimulus money (for example, how to lend it out). Although the point above says “pause” (not stop), you still must push through some key projects.

 

When reviewing your project list or year-end goals, determine what needs extra time or focus. Are you behind on anything? What needs extra attention? In marathon running, there is a term called “hitting the wall.” It’s the moment in the race when you experience a sudden loss of energy (usually around miles 17 or 18). If you feel yourself hitting the wall with your 2021 goals, buckle up and push on.

 

Plan

Even though it is July, strategic planning season is actually in full swing. The summer is the perfect time to either conduct your planning session or begin to prepare for your fall session. We tell our clients all the time, “strategic planning is a process, not a date on the calendar.” The work at a credit union or community bank never ends. And planning should never end. One of the steps in our planning process includes some pre-session work. This includes surveys, a pre-session reading guide and getting attendees in the “planning mindset.” As Graeme Edwards said, “It’s not the plan that is important, it’s the planning.” While it may be mid-year, it’s actually time to start planning for next year.

 

One exercise you can do is to write down your thoughts on pausing, pushing and planning. Take a few minutes to journal your ideas. This is also a great exercise to do with your management team or even your entire staff. Seek their input.

 

Trophies are not awarded at halftime. When teams go to the locker room, they pause and get refreshed; they push on to the second half and they plan for the rest of the game. It’s the same way with your credit union or community bank. Now is the perfect time to pause, push on and plan.

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