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The greatest challenge is that not only do employees not understand their Credit Union's strategy, but the same can also be said of the Credit Union executive team. The reality is that most Credit Union "strategic plans" are vague and boiler-plate recycled material that can be found in strategic plans of virtually every other Credit Union. Many lack any meaningful direction, uniqueness, differentiation, or reliance on current data and trends.

How exactly can a supervising teller, VP Marketing and all other sr leaders explain the strategy to their teams if the strategy simply does not exist?

Strategy is rarely developed during offsite meetings. It is rarely a function of large group meetings. Strategy is typically developed based on market position, strategic strengths & weaknesses, exiting and evolving opportunities, and demand. Strategic development is hard work that requires skills set that is not often found in smaller Credit Unions (less than than $1 billion assets).

So, before engaging employees, Credit Union executives should define the strategy for growth and success, including the development of operational and market facing tactical efforts that are quantifiable and measurable. It is these tactical efforts that should be relayed to the teams for implementation.

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Mark Arnold is an acclaimed speaker, brand expert and strategic planner helping businesses such as credit unions and banks achieve their goals with strategic marketing insights and energized training.