Strategic Planning for Organizational Success



Strategic Planning for Organizational Success

“There are two primary reasons for strategic planning,

One – to transform and two – to differentiate your credit union.” – Rich Jones

L2L’s Strategic Planning Competencies

Rich Jones has worked in credit unions and on behalf of credit unions for over 30 years and understands how difficult it is to create and execute a meaningful strategic plan. Having advised over 50 credit unions, he has identified common barriers to strategic success and has developed a process to identify these barriers. This intimate knowledge of the credit union will allow it to achieve its strategic objectives.

Strategic planning isn’t just about dreaming big, it’s about knowing the credit union, its culture, values, purpose, and readiness to execute on things that matter.

My process includes understanding the credit union’s operational, project, and cultural alignment. When alignment is realized, the credit union will create a future that allows it to transform into what you want it to be while differentiating your credit union in your markets of choice.

My L2L Strategic Planning Process (LSPP) uniquely includes how to connect strategy to leadership, culture, and execution. LSPP is a three-step process, Discovery, Strategic Planning, and Launching the Business Plans. Delivering on these three steps helps to assure the realization of the credit union’s goals. This process includes a deep dive understanding of the credit union, knowing the culture and leadership, and the key differentiators. This understanding sets the stage for executing mission-critical projects, doing the right work at the right time, the right way. Your credit union’s future self is within your grasp. The process specifics are:

 The L2L Strategic Planning Process – Statement of Work

  1. DiscoveryBefore the Planning Session

    Senior Management and key staff will be interviewed via Zoom. These interviews are the mechanism for the team to provide input in place of the traditional Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threats (SWOT) analysis. This Discovery methodology offers the team more time to think through responses while eliminating the groupthink and acquiescence in most SWOT conversations. It is a proven method to get more honest and relevant input.

Discovery is conducted over two to three weeks. These interviews need to be completed 30 days before the planning session to share the finding in a Strategic Engagement Report for the strategic planning team.

During Discovery, I will understand where the credit union has been, how you got to where you are, how strategically and culturally aligned your organization is, what you are good at, what you are doing well, and where you struggle and need improvement. In addition, Discovery allows me to learn the organizational readiness for growth and expansion.

It is vital to listen to those at the supervisor/manager level, not just senior Management, since most strategic plans and cultural alignment challenges fail at the middle management level. Discovery is a great starting point to begin strategic planning.

The deliverable of Discovery will be a Strategic Engagement Report (SER). The SER will detail what was learned about the Credit Union. It will highlight your strengths, weaknesses, and often some surprise “Ah-Ha” situations. All comments will be anonymized so interviewees feel comfortable telling their truth. In the SER, I will recommend steps to improve strategic and cultural alignment and leadership consistency.

I anticipate 15-20 interviews of 55 minutes each. It is expected that I will work with the Admin at the credit union to ensure we get the employees into an interview schedule.

As an option, Discovery can be done onsite, which would take three days, or via Zoom, which would take ~3-weeks. Discovery would be scheduled at least 30 days before the Strategic Planning Day.

  1. Strategic Planning Day

    With the Board and Senior Management – one day onsite

Facilitation agenda

    1. Chairperson and CEO kick-off – 10 minutes
    2. Review of the Discovery document – 30 minutes
    • Re-affirmation of the Mission, Vision, Purpose, Promise, and Core Values – 30 minutes

Break – 15 minutes

    1. Leadership team review of the current strategic objectives and progress – Do they need to be abandoned or amended? – 60 minutes

Lunch – 60 minutes

    1. Dreaming BigIdentify a vision of how the credit union wants to serve its members and the community three-five years from now. Are your current objectives going to get you there? – 30 minutes
    2. Identify which strategic objectives are “Run the Business” and “Change the Business” – 15 minutes.
    • Identifying the BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) is to identify one key objective that is so big it scares you –15 minutes.
    • Narrow the list to 3-5 critical strategies – 30 minutes

Break – 15 minutes

    1. Ask, “Will any of these objectives differentiate the credit union in its markets of choice?” – 15 minutes
    2. Assign a strategic owner for each identified objective – 10 minutes
    3. Set expectations for the strategic owners – 10 minutes
    • Attendee insights from the day – 20 minutes
    • My insights from the day – 10 minutes
    • Chairperson and CEO share insights and close the session – 20 minutes.
  1. Strategic Business Plan Presentations one day onsite

This meeting should be scheduled 60-90 days after the strategic planning session. This delay will allow the strategic owners time to research and build a business plan. Each strategic objective owner will present a plan that details the initiatives and projects to be completed to realize this strategy in the next three years, quarter by quarter. These presentations should include anticipated milestones that can be reported, anticipated costs, and the reporting schedule. It is understood the business plan details will be more refined in the first and second quarter and less developed as you move farther out on the calendar Board participation for this day will be determined by the CEO and Chair. Some credit unions feel they can skip this step, but I have found that, often, once the team returns to the office, they get caught up doing the urgent and vital strategic work idles.

The Strategic Business Plan Presentations agenda is:

    1. CEO Opens – 10 minutes
    2. Presentations – Strategic owners – 2-3 hours with a break

Lunch – one hour

    • Reestablish the labeling of Run the Business or Change the Business now that the scope of work has been identified – 30 minutes.
    1. Negotiating and establishing Priorities for resource allocation and budget demands – 60 minutes
    2. Next steps – 10 minutes
    3. My reflections from the day and the entire process – 30 minutes
    • Comments from Management – 30 minutes
    • CEO Closes – 10 minutes

Rich will provide a Business Plan Template and mentor the strategic objective owners:

    1. Two one-hour, one-to-one virtual business plan consultation meetings (via zoom or conference call) with each strategic objective owner. These meetings will be scheduled with the strategic objective owner. The Meeting Content:
      • Review progress, resolve issues, share resources, and options, other concerns
      • Review of the business plan before the presentation
    2. Two virtual meetings of one hour with the strategic owners together. These meetings will be scheduled at four months and eight months post-launch of the strategic plan; The Meeting Content:
      • Review progress on identified initiatives and projects for each objective
      • Coordinate priorities for each project for the next two quarters
      • Identify barriers to success?
      • Determine how to overcome these barriers?
      • Acknowledge how disruption is affecting each strategic objective?
      • Determine what resources and budget need to shift?

Note: Agenda items can be amended to meet your credit union’s needs.



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