When It Comes to Bank or Credit Union Strategic Planning, Just Stand There

Shawn Temple
When It Comes to Bank or Credit Union Strategic Planning, Just Stand There

You’re squarely in the middle of a really busy season! I know what you’re thinking: when is it not a busy season in your industry?  

For many credit unions and community banks, the fall months are full of strategic planning, budgeting, operating plans and figuring out how to get those last remaining projects over the finish line before the holiday season sneaks up on us.

While community bank and credit union strategic planning is popular during this time of year, it’s important to know there’s not a bad time to build your institution’s next strategic plan. Community institutions create their future roadmaps all throughout the year. So, if you think you’ve missed your opportunity this year…never fear, you can start at any time!


Don’t Just Do Something…


I recently listened to a podcast mentioning an example from the wall of a physicians’ breakroom in a hospital. A banner on the wall read, “Don’t just do something…stand there.”  

Yes, you read that correctly. It probably sounded a little clunky when you read it. After all, the very familiar saying is, “Don’t just stand there…do something.”

The point of that banner is to remind those doctors how they mistakenly rush to treat a patient as quickly as possible (or “do the work”). However, the patient is actually better served by not rushing the treatment. Instead, thinking about the symptoms the patient presents, taking all possible variables into account and leaning on their expertise leads to the best informed decision regarding patient treatment. (Disclaimer: Not being a physician or in the healthcare industry myself, please note there is a time and place for this approach. I am merely drawing a comparison for your consideration in your role and industry).

Now, let’s think about this example in the context of your own community bank and credit union strategic planning.


Missing the Forest for the Trees


You do a lot. You serve your members and communities with everything you’ve got. To use a sports metaphor, you leave it all out on the field.

You have a real passion and commitment for service. You love to do the work, and it’s rewarding because you know the work matters to real people and impacts communities in a positive way.

But sometimes, you are guilty of focusing so much on cranking out “the work” - the daily grind - that you miss opportunities to survey the landscape. It’s time to consider all variables, bringing everyone together to discuss your community bank or credit union strategic planning. It’s time to chart the right course.


Learn to Wonder


The first step in any workflow is Wonder. That is, the ability to pause and ask questions like:  

  • “Are we on the right track?”
  • “Should we continue X?”
  • “What if we tried Y?”

As a Certified Working Genius Facilitator, I can tell you that Wonder is lacking every time I present The Six Types of Working Genius workshop to a bank or credit union’s staff. The overwhelming majority of employees have the gifts of: (1) helping other people, and (2) ensuring that tasks get completed.

That’s amazing! You have many people attaining fulfillment from helping members, customers and employees. Plus, your staff makes sure everything gets done. What a gift!

But far fewer employees have the strength of Wonder. There’s nothing inherently alarming about that. Still, it becomes problematic when most employees crank out daily tasks without asking if the work is meaningful and impactful. Community bank and credit union strategic planning (and even brainstorming smaller issues) is the perfect place to carve out space and time to Wonder, to ensure you’re still on the best course and to align the entire team around that course.


Make Bank or Credit Union Strategic Planning a Daily Practice


Yes, it’s critical you crank out great work. However, it’s equally critical to make sure your work truly satisfies your bank or credit union strategic planning goals. Think about the clunky hospital banner phrase from time to time. Write it on a sticky note and place it under your keyboard or whatever works best for you as a constant reminder.   

Don’t just do something…stand there.

So, allocate time to wonder. Book a free consultation for a bank or credit union strategic planning session with On The Mark Strategies’ facilitators. Remember: you don’t have to wait until fall of next year!

Shawn Temple
Strategy Director