Clock with words time to stop on its face

This entry was authored by Taylor W. Wells, Communications Director with On The Mark Strategies

After making the decision to grow a beard, I was taken aback by the large variety of beard care products targeted towards men. It took a while to weed through customer reviews and try out a few before I found a balm that works best for me.

After a few months of using this particular product, I received a series of emails from the company from which I purchased it. To paraphrase, they were retooling their production line to focus more on just a couple of lines of balms in order to improve profits and better serve their customers.

Rather than adding products, they were cutting them.

This took a lot of guts. All too often when it comes to strategic planning, credit unions get bogged down in adding line after line of goals to accomplish. The real trick to strategic planning is not adding new things to your agenda, but finding things that no longer make sense and having the courage to cross those off your list.

This will run contrary to most of what you probably believe about the value of strategic planning. After all, credit union employees feel empowered (and often secretly, overwhelmed) leaving a strategic planning session with a bevy of new to-do items on their list. What credit union professionals must keep in mind, however, is they will never fully realize the value and potential of a targeted strategic plan unless they are willing and able to take a hard look at the things they must stop doing.

These “not-to-do” items will vary from credit union to credit. For some, it may be eliminating unnecessary reports that generate little value and low readership. For others, it might be admitting that some past ideas from strategic planning sessions just aren’t coming to fruition and crossing those off the list.

Only you know for sure what these items are for your specific credit union. However, I’ll give you especially good odds that every credit union has at least a few things it can cross off its strategic planning to-do list. Have that tough inner conversation and share it with your strategic planning accomplices. You’ll be surprised at the results.