Strategic planning meetings offer a small window of opportunity for executives and boards to discuss market and institutional realities and plan for the future. They are critical sessions that are all too often condensed into 48 hours toward the end of the year. When time is of the essence, here are four ways to create a more efficient and productive annual planning meeting.
1. Plan Before The Planning Meeting
Strategic planning meetings are ticking clocks. Participants must cover an immense amount of information, and conversation is better spent as a dialog rather than a tutorial.
Financial Partners Credit Union ($900M Downey, CA) and California Coast Credit Union ($1.8B, San Diego, CA) start prepping for their yearly meetings — held in August and September, respectively — as early as March.
CU QUICK FACTS
Financial Partners CU
HQ: Downey, CA
Data as of 03.31.17
12-MO SHARE GROWTH: 11.2%
12-MO LOAN GROWTH: 5.7%
As part of a larger report, Financial Partners creates a whitepaper in advance of its strategic planning meeting that describes how the credit union is performing in reference to its strategic plan. The whitepaper gives the cooperative a chance to “layout all the challenges and opportunities before the credit union,” says Nader Moghaddam, chief executive of Financial Partners.“That’s a five-month planning process,” says Todd Lane, chief financial officer at California Coast. “We put some flesh to challenges we see both internally and externally, and we’re then in a position to present to our board what we think we need to do to achieve our mission and vision.”
With this information, each credit union can spend less time reviewing the past and more time focusing on the future.
“I think some boards get caught up looking in the rearview mirror,” Lane says. “We’re trying to emphasize where we’re going and the challenges we see going forward.”
2. Be Timely, Be Current
On September 9, tech giant Apple announced the launch of Apple Pay, spurring discussion about the potential disruptive affect the technology would have on the credit union industry.
CU QUICK FACTS
California Coast CU
HQ: San Diego, CA
Data as of 03.31.17
12-MO SHARE GROWTH: 11.6%
12-MO LOAN GROWTH: 19.2%
For its 2014 board strategic planning session, California Coast had booked a speaker from Fiserv to discuss the e-wallet impact on financial institutions. On a recommendation from its board, the credit union asked the speaker to slightly modify her presentation to cover the introduction of Apple Pay. It’s a lesson in timeliness — present the most current and relevant information to provide the most value — but also in active observation.On September 9, tech giant Apple announced the launch of Apple Pay, spurring discussion about the potential disruptive affect the technology would have on the credit union industry.
California Coast’s board members are aware of shifts in technology and regulations and how these changes relate to the credit union’s membership.
“They were aware of Apple Pay, that a handful of financial institutions had worked with it on a collaborative basis, and that we’re going down that path,” Lane says. “They understood the benefits of Apple Pay in terms of security and tokenization and biometrics.”
Encouraging the board to stay up-to-date with changes in financial services improves board strategic planning meetings. When the board is knowledgeable and engaged, the meeting can focus more on the future.
3. Develop A Succession Plan
The average credit union board member is a 61-year-old man, according to CUNA. These board members will start retiring in the near future, forcing credit unions to find qualified replacements.
Our board hears what we think all the time so we ask industry experts to share their opinion with our board.
Many credit unions have an associate board whose members do not vote but who do participate in the governance process in other ways. They are essentially board-members-in-waiting. When board members retire, a stable of associate members are prepared to take over.
When new members join the board, the credit union must teach them about the operations of the position. Sometimes this process is smooth, other times not. To give its associates an edge, Financial Partners invites them to its board strategic planning session.