Three Keys to Strategic Planning for 2021

Mark Arnold
Three Keys to Strategic Planning for 2021

2020 will certainly go down as a year to remember (or forget, depending on your perspective). This T-shirt I saw on Amazon says it well:

2021 strategic planning for credit unions and community banks to avoid pitfalls of 2020

As we enter the last weeks of the year and look to 2021, successful strategic planning is a must. Starting your new year without a workable strategic plan is like starting a road trip with your "check engine" light on. Strategic planning for 2021 has to happen...even if you do it a few months into the year.

We all know the rebound from 2020 won't be easy, so here's how to specifically do strategic planning for 2021:

Make your strategic planning session collaborative and inclusive

Financial institutions are often guilty of making their strategic planning session a closed-door affair. However, having the right mix of people from across your credit union or community bank makes the overall product better.

Consider including staff from your frontline and back office. They bring a unique view on the overall culture of your financial institution and can definitely add to the planning process. When more people feel they are part of the process, you also get more buy-in.

Don't let your strategic plan gets stuck in the weeds

A strategic plan, by definition, should focus on the strategic, not the tactical. Strategic planning groups often fall into tactical discussions instead of strategic. They quickly find their planning session stuck in the weeds. With successful moderation, however, your strategic plan can take a big picture approach that generates success even at the most granular levels.

Look at your strategic planning session as a process, not an event

Strategic planning is an annual process, not a multiple day "one and done" soiree. This year even proved that strategic planning can be successful remotely too.

What your team crafts in a strategic planning session must direct the flowing blood of your financial institution for the next several years. A long-term view of your strategic planning session attitude will generate a better plan with better results than the traditional, "it’s just our annual weekend get-together" thinking.

To help ensure your strategic plan launches you toward success in the new year, consider focusing on collaboration and inclusiveness, a truly strategic look at your plan and regarding your planning session as an annual process and not a singular event.

Mark Arnold
Founder and CEO
Mark Arnold