A Model of Strategic Planning

What is the credit union's growth ambition? What products? To which member segments?

Level I. ENVIRONMENTAL ANALYSIS: What do we know about?


GROWTH INTENTION: What is the credit union's growth ambition? What products? To which member segments?

5 options for each segment:

  • Grow market share
  • Rebuild market share
  • Hold market share
  • Harvest market share
  • Exit the market entirely

Level II. THRUST LEVEL: How will we grow? What is our sustainable competitive advantage?

  • Unique Product/Price
  • Marketing Competence
  • Distribution: Delivery System (Service Quality) ''Convenience''

ORGANIZATION: Are we organized to carry out our leading thrusts? Identify key success factors-those that must be completed to compete.

Level III. OBJECTIVES: What are the operational priorities? What is the financial outcome of our strategy? Personal performance goals are set.


What is Strategy?

A credit union's strategic plan provides the framework for budget decisions. But what is strategy?

Strategy's primary purpose is to answer the question-what is my credit union's sustainable competitive advantage?

Is my advantage versus my competitor's advantage based on:

  • Better pricing?
  • Unique products and services?
  • More convenient delivery systems?
  • Superior personal service?

Well-run credit unions must be competitive in all aspects; however, they routinely try to have a ''leading thrust'' that distinguishes them from their competitors.

The key strategic assessment is to ask how much of a course change does the credit union have to make in its core business activities if it is to maintain its advantage.

The Strategic Framework

Most credit unions have a planning process in place. The primary purpose of this process is to answer the question-how much change do we need to make?

To answer this question, we suggest a framework that organizes the process in three levels.

Level 1:

Analyze the competitive triangle. This activity examines the following questions: what do we know about the driving forces on our members/ marketplace, what do we know about our competitors, and what are our own firm's strengths and weaknesses?

The outcome of this analysis should be a summary of the major opportunities and threats facing the credit union.

Level 2:

Identify your competitive advantage.
Strategy addresses the following issues:

  • Where are the growth opportunities for the credit union?
  • How will you compete to achieve these opportunities?
  • What are the key success factors necessary to support your competitive advantage?

Level 3:

Implement your objectives.
Effective strategy is a balance among multiple outcomes including financial goals, market share increases, improvement processes and member satisfaction.




Sept. 24, 2001



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