Develop the Ultimate Strategic Itinerary

Mark Arnold
Develop the Ultimate Strategic Itinerary

It’s June…which means it’s officially summertime. And if you’re anything like me, you need an itinerary for your trip. A plan.

Go hiking one day. Attend a musical at the local theater the next. Eat out at the best brunch place in town every day. My itinerary lets me know where I’m going and what I’m doing.

What does your credit union or community bank’s itinerary say? In other words, where does your strategic plan have you going?

Here are a couple ways to develop the ultimate strategic plan for your institution:

Don’t Do Everything

No matter how much you want to, it’s impossible to visit every local attraction or do every activity while on vacation. And it’s equally impossible to accomplish every project at your institution in any given year.

You must look ahead and decide where you want to spend your time. Specifically, choose three to five major projects to accomplish…those can be your strategic initiatives.

Choose the most important initiatives if you haven’t done them already. What are some of the most important initiatives?

  • Core Conversions – update now before you fall too far behind
  • Brand Updates – an old brand won’t resonate with new consumer groups
  • New Website – a website is your front porch; make sure it welcomes consumers

Just because you had to leave something out of your plan doesn’t mean you can’t accomplish it as part of a future plan. Remember, you can always visit that missed vacation spot the next time around.

Do Your Research

You don’t just hop on a plane and fly somewhere without knowing what’s waiting for you. No – you do your research beforehand.

Your credit union or community bank’s strategic plan is similar. Before creating it, you research your strategic problems and the current trends in the financial industry. There might even be surveys involved so you know what leaders think about your institution’s direction.

Our own strategic planning sessions always include pre-session surveys, a reading guide and a presentation of the M-Scan (a collection of six-to-eight trends from across the industry). These research tools help you know where you’re landing your institution in terms of its strategic goals.

Don’t Wing It

A vacation itinerary keeps you on track. The more detail you have, the better the vacation will be. For example, it’s important to have a list of local food places you want to try out. You don’t want to reach your destination starving and turn to the local McDonald’s because you didn’t have a plan.

How much detail does your credit union or community bank strategic plan have?

Besides focused strategic initiatives, a great plan should include:

  • Target completion times (Q2, Q3, etc.)
  • Who is responsible for executing sub-tasks under the main initiative
  • How you will measure progress and success

It’s also a good idea to develop a tactical action plan (TAP) outside of your strategic plan. Your TAP lets you define specific tasks underneath each initiative and assign due dates. Remember, what gets assigned gets done.

Don’t create an unfocused strategic itinerary for your credit union or community bank’s trip into the future. Book a free strategic planning consultation with On The Mark Strategies and make a plan you’ll implement.

Mark Arnold
Founder and CEO