The challenge is helping front-line credit union folks see the big picture.
Should credit union staff members beyond the senior level be included in strategic planning? If yes, when and how will such involvement be most beneficial for a credit union?
The diagram at right will help you consider the answer to this question.
The board and senior management team should work in constructive partnership to set the credit union’s overarching vision, mission, culture (or values), strategic goals, objectives and metrics (see the items in the accompanying graphic in blue). Work plans (see items in red) are then developed and executed by the senior management team in partnership with the rest of the staff, based on the original work set forth on the vision, mission and culture.
There are a few caveats, of course. The senior management team should be recused from some parts of the strategic planning process with the board when (a) the board anticipates that it may need to make a CEO change and wants to discuss it as a part of going in a “new strategic direction”; (b) the board discusses the possibility of restructuring the senior management team with just the CEO; and/or (c) there are important governance issues concerning the board, which could morph into a strategic effort focused on the board or governance-only issues, that they want to first discuss among themselves and (usually) with the CEO.
Including more staff in the visioning process can, at times, be limiting, so the board and senior management team should consider whether this might be an issue. Staff can tend to think more along operational lines, and the purpose of strategic planning at the board and senior management team level is to think, to think big, and to think beyond what is happening today.
However, some staff, especially individuals with specialized skill sets and knowledge, could be included at the board and senior management team level of planning, and all staff can and should be included in up-front brainstorming, research and data gathering. Additionally, they are vital to fully developing the more detailed operational work plans (the items in orange) that flow from the board-level strategic goals, objectives and metrics. Finally, they would need to be involved as a vital stakeholder group in the communications effort articulating the strategic planning efforts of leadership. After all, they will be asked to embrace and execute the plan.
Jennie Boden is managing director of strategic relationships and senior consultant with CUES’ strategic provider for governance services, Quantum Governance, Herdon, Virginia.