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Asking the Tough Questions for Strategic Planning
Monday, July 25, 2016 6:30 AM

Howard Bufe, AVP, Credit Union Resources

Is it time to inject some serious diagnostics into your strategic planning? Maybe this year is the perfect time for asking ourselves some hard questions. Is there a fault line in our current operation? Check the vital signs of our organizations and confirm that all sectors are working toward the best interest of the membership.

A great place to start is our membership. Identify and talk to three categories of your membership: your most profitable members, your least profitable members, and those you don’t currently serve and listen to what they have to say. Try to identify the financial, social and emotional needs of each group, along with the frustrations they have towards financial services. Some of these questions could guide you through the process:

  1. Are there unmet needs within the groups?
  2. Are the members loyal to our brand?
  3. Do they feel locked in, or would they defect if they could?
  4. Could emerging technology simplify how the end users’ needs are met? Gaining input and feedback can provide great benefits.

Next, we should ask ourselves, is our business model appropriate to accomplish our vision and mission? Do we have a need to redesign, reinvent, or restructure our current operation to better meet our member’s current and future financial needs?

There are four interlocking elements in our operation and we need to identify what each of those mean to us:

  1. What’s our Member Value Proposition? How do we create value for our members? What opportunities are available to us to create and provide a valued proposition for our membership?
  2. What is our profit formula? How do we design our profit blueprint while creating value for the member?
  3. What key resources do we have that we can depend on? What key resources are we lacking? How do we fill the gap between the two?
  4. Have we implemented the appropriate operational and managerial processes that allow us to deliver value in a way that benefits the member while keeping the credit union a viable entity far into the future?

Bottom line, it’s always a great idea to run diagnostics and ask those tough questions about our organization and adjust or reinvent ourselves to provide value to our membership.

Need help in your credit union? Contact us at Credit Union Resources where our goal is to be the leading provider of business solutions for the credit union community. We are a wholly owned subsidiary of Cornerstone Credit Union League and proud to serve as the service corporation for Cornerstone's member credit unions. Our motto says it all...Your Business, Our Focus, Expert Solutions.