scene-from-the-bucket-listIn the movie The Bucket List, Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman play two aging men who meet in the hospital.

As they are discussing their mortality, Freeman’s character suggests that they should each create a ‘bucket list” of the things they want to do before they kick the bucket.

The movie documents their pursuit of the items on each of their lists and the development of a powerful friendship.  Though it’s not the best movie either actor ever appeared in, it is both entertaining and insightful.

The concept of the bucket list is powerful because it forces you to think about what you really want to do in your life.  After all, if you are going to write it down and commit to making it happen, you tend to focus on things you really want to do that you can envision yourself achieving.

And the same is true for your credit union.

No, I am not suggesting that your credit union is nearing the end of its life and that you need to create a bucket list to make sure you get the things done that you always wanted to do while it was in existence.

But I am suggesting that you consider using this approach to take your strategic thinking to the next level by following the steps below.


1. Hold a fun, casual meeting where your leadership team and your managers create their personal bucket lists for what they personally want to accomplish before they leave the credit union. The exercise will help people see what is really important to them as they look at what they have accomplished and consider what is left to do to fulfill their vision. The result will be better decisions about where to allocate effort in the future.

2. Engage your Board in a similar exercise, but focus the list on what they want to see the credit union achieve in their lifetime.  The real objective here is to help the Board think further into the future and to encourage them to really consider what is possible for the credit union.  The result should be an improved focus on long-term strategic thinking, and the surfacing of some new ideas that may not make it into the usual conversations at the planning session.

Remember:  The point here is not to focus the conversation on mortality or end of existence thinking, but rather to open up the discussion by considering the things that can and should be done.  If you make it fun and celebrate all of the ideas that emerge, you can move your team and its thinking to the next level, and perhaps beyond!