Flush with all the work and excitement that goes into strategic planning sessions, sometimes bank and credit union professionals fail to recognize key mistakes beforehand. With a little prior thinking, these mistakes can be avoided during your strategic planning process — resulting in a better experience and a better potential future for your bank or credit union.

Following are a few examples of strategic planning mistakes.

  • Taking too big a bite. It doesn’t matter what your asset size — every bank or credit union has finite resources. If you take too big a bite to chew with your strategic plan, you’re setting yourself up to fail early. While there is no “magic number” for strategic planning goals, a good general rule of thumb is to keep them to five or fewer.
  • Limiting your time frame. Can you really accomplish all the goals established in your strategic planning session in one year? Odds are (especially if they are goals worth attaining) the answer is no. Therefore, ensure you do not excessively limit your timeframe during your strategic planning session. If possible, look past that first calendar year into 24 or 36 months into the future.
  • Failing to inform staff. The typical bank or credit union strategic planning session features members of your executive team, the board of directors and perhaps a facilitator. All of the hard work of the session is sometimes kept under wraps. This is unfortunate, as many of the people responsible for making sure your strategic planning goals are met are staff. Include staff in a post-strategic planning session debriefing so they are aware of what occurred and the important role they play in the plan’s success.

Focusing on the positive outcomes of a strategic planning session is great. However, wise bank and credit union professionals will also take time to consider potential strategic planning blunders. Work now to anticipate these pitfalls before they happen to you.