The end-goal of a strategic planning process includes a set of clear objectives. It is these strategic initiatives that guide your bank or credit union moving into the next several years. However, poor objectives can just as easily kill a strategic plan and render your investment wasted.

What are poor objectives? What are the things your strategic planning team must avoid when it comes to objectives at its next session? Consider the following:

  • Unclear objectives. You want up-front and easy-to-read language in your objectives. Now is not the time to wordsmith and impress everyone with your vocabulary. Your objective must be clear, driven by action verbs and book-ended by start and end dates.
  • Un-led objectives. If a ship or plane start a journey without a seasoned captain, they are unlikely to make it very far. Your strategic planning objectives are the same. To succeed, they must have a leader. This could be a single leader or perhaps a small team of leaders, depending on the objective. Lack of leadership for your objective condemns it to failure before it can start. If no one leads it, no one is responsible for it and if no one is responsible for it no one will care.
  • Un-reported objectives. Putting your objectives down on paper is just a start. Making sure they have a leader (or leaders) is a next step. In order to be truly successful, however, your strategic objectives must also include regular reporting. After the strategic planning session itself, ensure that leaders of specific objectives understand they are responsible for reporting back to the team on the status of their objectives. Failing to do this is like pushing a raft onto the rapids and putting your trust in the rocks and rushing water. The end result won’t be pretty.

Since well-defined objectives are the desired outcome of a strategic planning session, it makes sense to give them a terrific head-start on their journey towards completion. This includes making sure they are complemented by things like clarity, leadership and regular reporting.