A New Way to Look at Your Strategic Planning

Several years ago, State Employees Credit Union of MI did away with the traditional way of creating strategy and of communicating it to management by means of a Board/Management annual retreat. They stopped doing this in favor of a more continuous process by adopting the Carver Policy Governance Model.

 
 

Several years ago, State Employees Credit Union of MI did away with the traditional way of creating strategy and of communicating it to management by means of a Board/Management annual retreat. They stopped doing this in favor of a more continuous process by adopting the Carver Policy Governance Model.

According to Steve Winninger, CEO, this board governance model calls for the Board to govern his credit union through four basic policy groups or categories. The first is the ends policy. This communicates in broad terms why the credit union exists and what it means to accomplish for members. The second is a listing of executive limitations, setting limitations beyond which management may not go. The third maps the Board/Management relationship. The fourth is a definition of how the Board governs itself. All these are interconnected and must be considered as a whole body of policies.

The third policy above - on the Board/Management relationship - explains to the CEO (who is the Board's only employee) that the Board makes the ends policy but allows a reasonable interpretation thereof. The Board says that it will accept reasonable interpretations but will also be the final arbiter of interpretations. Accordingly, the Board is able to change policy rapidly and retains a very high level of control of the credit union.

For the ends and limitations policies, the CEO is obliged to make regular reports to the Board. Thus the Board is continually monitoring results. In effect, the CEO first, interprets Board policy, second, develops a strategic plan to achieve the ends aimed for in the policy, and third, reports results to the Board.

Under this model, policy is ever present, if somewhat out of constant view owing to its lofty level, and everyone knows that it is subject to change without the formality of an off-site retreat.

For SECU (MI), this governance model works well. The Board is in full control but remains so at a very lofty level, setting high policy but not descending to tactics and implementation. Management is allowed a reasonable interpretation of these policies but well understands its limits and is continuously reporting to the Board on results.


Would this model work for you? It is just one of many that you can use to facilitate planning with your Board. Join Callahan's on November 18th to take a look at 4 additional models for running your Board planning session. You will come away with practical information, including sample agendas, that will assist you in your planning efforts-whether you use an outside facilitator or run the meeting yourself.

 

 

 

Nov. 17, 2003


Comments

 
 
 
  • Good to see another way to do things.
    Anonymous
     
     
     
  • The Board of Directors of DCU--Digital FCU adopted the Carver Governance Model in 1996----It works GREAT. Every CU Director and CEO should read John Carver's book---Boards That Make A Difference.
    Anonymous
     
     
     
  • Excellent article!
    Anonymous