Start Strong on Your Bank or Credit Union Strategic Plan in 2024

Mark Arnold
Start Strong on Your Bank or Credit Union Strategic Plan in 2024

Many banks and credit unions enjoy holding their strategic planning sessions in the fall, and you may have held your own planning session during that time. Or maybe your session is fast approaching sometime in January or February. No matter when you have your bank or credit union strategic planning session, the resulting plans tend to suffer from a similar problem… 

Follow-through. Accountability. Keeping tabs.

It goes by many names, but put simply: day-to-day concerns eat your strategic work and you don’t accomplish as much as you want. You can’t afford to miss strategic goals in today’s fast-paced market. The long-term is at your doorstep right now (even if it doesn’t feel like it).

So, it’s time to figure out how to overcome obstacles getting in the way of your bank or credit union strategic plan. And one key solution resides in how you run your meetings.


Rethink Your Meetings


The Harvard Business Review notes meetings are wasteful in many organizations. In fact, 71% of managers surveyed said their organization’s meetings were “unproductive and inefficient.” This sad truth impacts your bank or credit union strategic plan.

Reform your meetings this year. Using Gino Wickman’s “Traction” as a guide, implement these three elements into your meetings:

  1. Punctuality
  2. Organization
  3. Regularity


Prioritize Punctuality


One of the most common complaints is meetings are too long. Discussion is endless. Tangents are numerous. Attendees don’t respect meeting times.

You’d think longer meetings might help your bank or credit union strategic plan, but the opposite is true. People zone out or multitask (92% of people do this) while conversation drones on endlessly. As Wickman says, “Most leadership teams spend their time discussing the heck out of everything but rarely solving anything.”

Set your start and end times in stone. Never violate them. Not only does this tactic respect others’ time, but it also ensures you come to conclusions quickly and shut down tangents. The clock is winding down…and you need to make strategic progress before time’s up.


Organize Your Discussion


Your meetings need an agenda, a leader and a “secretary” keeping track of events. Sounds simple enough. And it is!

But there’s a temptation to overcomplicate it with long, dynamic agendas.

Keep your agendas brief, consistent week-to-week and specific regarding time spent on each section (ex: introduction is five minutes long). Remember: meetings are where the work should happen; not during agenda construction.

The leader opens the meeting, drives the meeting and abides by the agenda. The secretary keeps participants accountable about agenda timing and records significant developments.

Wickman recommends spending the longest amount of time on what he calls “IDS.” In other words: 

  • Identify
  • Discuss
  • Solve

Your bank or credit union strategic plan is more likely to succeed if you embrace IDS as well. Tackle the three or five most important issues in your meeting and devise next steps. Come up with a solution, assign an owner and set a deadline.


Repeat the Process


Running one excellent meeting has limited effects. But running excellent meetings every week pumps adrenaline throughout your institution.

Every. Single. Week. Same time and place. Same leader and notetaker. Same basic agenda structure. Then, do the same thing each quarter. Figure out your progress toward your goals and see what smaller tasks require completion the following quarter to fulfill your plan.

Consistent meetings keep your bank or credit union strategic plan alive. Or as Wickman describes it, “The Meeting Pulse, like a heartbeat, creates a consistent flow that keeps the company healthy.”

Of course, execution means nothing without a solid bank or credit union strategic plan as your foundation. Enlist On The Mark Strategies’ strategic planning facilitators to help you create a focused, achievable plan. Book a free consultation today!

Mark Arnold
Founder and CEO