C. Myblog

The Strategic Plan is Only the Beginning

December 12, 2013

This is the time of year when many credit unions are putting a bow on strategic and financial plans while breathing a big sigh of relief. Do we have a realistic strategic plan that leads to desired financial performance? Check! Is the budget aligned with the strategic plan? Check! Now the fun begins.

“Plans are only good intentions unless they immediately degenerate into hard work.” —Peter F. Drucker

One of the biggest enemies to well-executed strategic initiatives is normal day-to-day activities. For management this can mean daily firefighting, handling immediate and pressing issues before working on longer-term commitments. For board it often takes the form of spending precious board meeting time reviewing financials and operational issues, leaving little time to address strategy.

To combat this, consider including the following elements in execution plans:

  • Invest the time in making detailed execution plans that include timelines, responsible parties and work estimates.
  • Make a realistic assessment of whether the people responsible for executing strategic initiatives have the necessary time and resources. Reprioritize and reassign duties as required.
  • Build regular check-ins into the plans. This should include reporting on progress as well as budget to actual comparisons for both dollars and hours. For the board, the check-ins might be quarterly with high level progress and budget updates. For management, the check-ins should be more detailed.

Strategic initiatives represent the organization’s highest priorities. Appropriate tracking and follow-up are key to their effective execution and, ultimately, moving the credit union toward its strategic goals.

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