Why Planning To Lead With The Strategic Plan Is Actually A Mistake

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MADISON. Wis. – Credit unions need a plan to be able to grow — but it's not the strategic plan that comes first.

A mission plan supersedes a strategic plan, stressed said Neil Goldman, CEO of the Los Angeles-based Goldman Consulting and Strategy, during CUNA Mutual Group's Online Discovery Conference. "I would argue that the most compelling thing you want to accomplish is your purpose. If we have not defined our purpose we will come up with all kinds of great strategies that take us in all kinds different directions. A mission plan takes the mission out from page five of the strategic planning document-makes it real and not just nice words on a page-puts it in front and now your strategies flow from the mission."

A mission plan gives everyone in the credit union a reason to row in the same direction, avoiding the common problem of departments working diligently toward what the department feels it needs to be doing, not aligning with the rest of the organization.

Goldman emphasized that having a mission plan leads to "purpose-driven management," and helps the CU deliver on four principles for organizational success:

• Create focus

• Create an exceptional employee experience

• Create an exceptional member experience

• Create meaningful, relevant distinction in the marketplace

Goldman said the mission plan provides the base for delivering a great employee experience that then builds a great member experience, helping to "create relevant distinction in the marketplace."

The credit union also needs metrics to not only measure success, but ensure things get done, Goldman insisted, recommending a mission scorecard (see example, right).

In closing, Goldman stressed the credit union mission cannot be a mantra, such as "We're like a bank but better," and must focus on an achievable purpose.

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