Family standing next to the car and looking at the map

Any parent brave enough to take a road trip with a car full of children can relate to that persistent and fiendishly annoying question — “are we there yet?” When the credit union takes a road trip together on a strategic plan, the same question often arises.

All too often, credit unions spend a lot of time and money developing a strategic plan that includes sweeping goals and aspirations, without including critically important key performance indicators (KPIs).

Guess what? All those pie in the sky goals don’t mean much unless you have methods to measure them.

For example, if one of the key goals from your strategic planning process is “to grow our credit union brand and market awareness,” exactly how do you propose to measure the success or failure of that effort? Increasing brand awareness is a great concept but isn’t worth the ink unless you can support it.

In this case, you want to give credibility towards your goal by establishing certain KPIs that might include “X number of checking accounts opened by year-end” and “X percent higher net promoter score compared to last year.”

You will also want to establish exactly when you will implement these key performance indicators. A lot of this will correlate with your specific strategic plan timeline. For example, if your plan goes out three years, you have a little more wiggle room. If it is a one-year plan, though, you’re looking at fairly rigorous KPI benchmark testing every quarter (if not every month).

Lastly, you want to establish people responsible for testing and reporting back on your particular set of KPIs. Typically, it makes the most sense to have department-related personnel report back on their specific areas. For example, marketing might report back on market awareness initiatives, IT could report back on progress towards technology goals and accounting could cover the bean-counting side of things.

Part of successful strategic planning is taking the time to agree upon milestones to measure success. It’s kind of like a long car trip. Every once in a while, it’s nice to know how far you have driven and how many miles are left to go. The same thing applies to a lengthy strategic plan. As you speed towards your overall goals, it is important to note when you reach mile-markers along the way.