Top Three Qualities of a Great Community Bank or Credit Union Strategic Planning Facilitator

Sean Galli
Top Three Qualities of a Great Community Bank or Credit Union Strategic Planning Facilitator

An effective community bank or credit union strategic planning session requires an effective facilitator. You can have the perfect day picked out, the right location booked and all the best minds in one spot…but it won’t mean much without a facilitator who moves you along to a usable plan.

Don’t let your planning session die. Find the best possible facilitator to guide you.

Let’s look at the top three qualities of a great strategic planning facilitator to get your search started on the right track.

1. The Facilitator Loves and Challenges You

This quality is the concept of the “frienemy.” The best community bank or credit union strategic planning facilitators love you like a friend but challenge you like an enemy.

Experienced facilitator Jeff Rendel describes this characteristic as “the skill to challenge thinking and assumptions to ensure we understand all aspects of a scenario.”

Your facilitator is not there to be your yes-man or yes-woman. They are there to help you reach the best decisions…even if it’s a tad painful. Or as Rendel puts it, “Making good decisions involves addressing our vulnerabilities as much as discussing our opportunities.”

So, don’t balk if you receive some healthy pushback from your facilitator. That’s actually a sign you have excellent facilitation and are heading toward a great plan.

2. The Facilitator Keeps Things Strategic

Alright, this point sounds a bit obvious. It’s a strategic session after all, not a tactical session. But these sessions nonetheless have a way of drifting off into the weeds.

A capable community bank or credit union strategic planning facilitator helps you find your way back into the clouds before you waste too much time. Rich Jones, President of Leading2Leadership LLC, makes it clear that a great facilitator “focuses on designing what the organization wants to become in the future, its ‘next.’”

Notice that Jones says to focus on your institution’s “next.” Not its “now.” Find a facilitator you trust to take the reins when your group ventures too far into the “now.” Your facilitator must not only stay strategic himself but be willing to reorient you to the strategic when necessary.

3. The Facilitator Involves Everyone

The quietest voices may have the most novel things to say. However, these individuals often struggle to speak up or be heard when there are stronger personalities in the room. Masterful facilitators know how to draw out the smaller voices while valuing the larger ones.

Both Rendel and Jones mentioned this trait when discussing top-tier facilitator qualities.

For Rendel, a facilitator must “focus the contributions of those who frequently add to the discussion.” In other words, distill the waterfall of ideas into a bottle of water you can reasonably drink. Don’t tune out the big talkers or devalue them. Instead, hone what they are saying.

And Jones says your facilitator should be an “expert in creating collaborations among the strategic planning teams to bring new concepts forward without judgment.” You heard him – without judgment. Many people fear looking dumb, so they only offer their 90%.

Give the extra 10% too! Your community bank or credit union strategic planning facilitator must encourage people to say what hasn’t been said. Once again, what does that silent team member have going on in his or her head? Find out.

And if you’re looking for a community bank or credit union strategic planning facilitator with all three of these qualities, you’re already in the right place. On The Mark Strategies facilitators are masters at the craft, and they’ll help you create an achievable plan.

Spots are filling up, so book a free consultation now to get the date you want!

Sean Galli
Marketing Coordinator