We all want success. Success in our personal and professional lives. Success with our goals and resolutions. Success for our kids and our families.

And when it comes to leading our credit unions and banks we also want success. Success with those loan promotions. Success with our new (and well established) branches. Success with those new hires. And probably most of all, success with our strategic and marketing plans.

However, while we certainly want to achieve success we must also recognize that success is a trap—especially a strategic trap.

How so? Consider the examples from brands like Sears, Radio Shack and even most recently with their store closings Macy’s. At one point or another in their executive management team meetings and strategic planning sessions they were probably all applauding their success. “Look at our gross sales numbers,” “we’re crushing the competition,” and “we’re the leaders in our industry” were all statements that were probably uttered. And now where are those once iconic brands: either dead or dying.

The reality is many organizations fail because they become complacent (or even worse: stale). It’s the success trap.

When conducting strategic planning sessions for successful, growing and large credit unions or banks we often remind them to celebrate success but to mindful of it.

If you are enjoying record growth, remember to do two things:

  • Analyze your success—Do a deep dive into why things are going so well. Run the numbers, talk to your people, and get as thorough an understanding as possible about the “why.” Then make a list of principles you can use moving forward.
  • Adjust your success—Even when things are going well, look for ways to make changes. As the old saying goes, “the only thing constant is change.” You should always be looking for improvement, whether it is through processes, technologies, or new ideas. In other words, become a student of success.

The greatest danger in your success is actually your own success.

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