Your Community Bank or Credit Union Strategic Plan…One Month Into 2024

Mark Arnold
Your Community Bank or Credit Union Strategic Plan…One Month Into 2024

Your community bank or credit union strategic plan is still fairly young this time of year. There are plenty more goal posts to reach and mile markers to pass before you achieve the initiatives you set at your session.

But youth is fleeting…

Your goals’ deadlines will be here faster than you think, so it’s worth examining your progress and how to maintain the pace.

A Single Step

Lao Tzu famously wrote, "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." Have you taken a step yet?

Hopefully, the answer is yes.

Early on in your community bank or credit union strategic plan execution, it’s easy to become a victim of time. You say to yourself, "I have plenty of time. That’s due months from now." And before you know it, it’s February.

By now, you should have taken some beginning steps to achieve your plan. These first accomplishments lay the foundation for larger, upcoming advances. For example, those running a branding project should have met with vendors (if there are any) and set timelines for important meetings.

Taking small steps at the beginning also gives you a pacing advantage. You have momentum. It’s easier to get more done when you’re already accomplishing objectives.

Realistic v. Delusional

You’ll notice your community bank or credit union strategic plan execution starts with "first steps" or "small steps." That’s because you need to be realistic. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and you won’t accomplish your initiatives in a month (or maybe even two or three).

Distinguish the realistic from the delusional.

Starting with foundational items and pacing yourself through larger phases to the project’s conclusion is realistic. Frontloading foundational and larger steps is not.

Indulging in the delusional actually harms your community bank or credit union strategic plan. Your team rushes at a breakneck pace through checkpoints, sacrificing quality for speed. And when goals are inevitably not met, the team gets discouraged.

Use moderation when achieving your initiatives. Not too fast, not too slow.

Maintaining the Pace

You’re on track – that’s wonderful! Now, how will you stay on track?

It’s sneakily easy to fall off the wagon, even after a strong start. Maintain your pace using a number of methods:

  • Weekly Pulse Meetings – Inspired by Gino Wickman’s "Traction" model, these are weekly gatherings of key stakeholders to identify, discuss and solve strategic issues. Regular updates give you real-time progress reports on your initiatives and what needs adjustments.
  • Tactical Action Plans – What gets calendared, gets done. Set firm deadlines early on and hold responsible parties accountable for meeting them.
  • Quarterly Sprints – You occasionally need an outside party keeping you accountable to the community bank or credit union strategic plan. Every 90 days, a third-party facilitator checks in on you to measure your progress. Be ready to explain what happened if you fell behind.

Accountability is at the core of these tricks. If you read this article and realize you’re already behind, try implementing some accountability measures and get moving. "Behind" doesn’t mean "too late."

Are you already looking ahead to this year’s planning session? On The Mark Strategies’ facilitators help you craft a focused, achievable community bank or credit union strategic plan. Book a free consultation now.

Mark Arnold
Founder and CEO
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Mark Arnold