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The Mind of Your Board

By Jeff Rendel, Certified Speaking Professional, and President of Rising Above Enterprises

I’ve heard it; perhaps you’ve heard it; maybe you’ve whispered it – “My Board of Directors has a mind of its own.”  So, why not capture the mind of your Board – through mind mapping – and develop strategies and tactics that allow your management team to deliver the class of results your Board believes is appropriate for your credit union?

At your next strategic planning session, consider setting aside Day One to co-create and develop a map of the mind of your Board.  It’s an engaging, change-of-pace exercise that strengthens the reciprocal relationship between your Board and CEO.  Here’s how.

  1. Use mind mapping software.  Get rid of the flip charts, vibrantly colored markers, easels, and torn-off pages that never remain lightly glued or taped to the walls.  In their place, put on view a map of your Board’s mind, projected on a large screen or visible on laptops throughout the meeting room.  Many software programs exist, most offering online and mobile access for single and multiple users, all for a reasonable price. 
  2. Let the thoughts, observations, and ideas flow.  Mind-mapping, by design, is a bit disordered – at first.  One way to add a little structure to a day that needs to be a bit “higgledy-piggledy” is to organize the topics for discussion.  Like you would in a mainstream  analysis, discuss everything – mission; financials; products; delivery; technology; markets; economics; competitors; business model; and, more.  Most important, gather your Board’s broad-spectrum views and desires, placing them on the mind map.   
  3. At the same time – expand, organize, and enhance your Board’s mind map.  This is the job of your facilitator – insider or outsider – to direct the results of your Board’s thinking into collaborative solutions.  Fresh ideas will stem from existing thoughts and observations.  Relationships between ideas will unfold.  Connections will be, both, established and unknotted to illustrate the relationships that can drive your credit union onward.  Your Board’s mind map begins to look a lot like a route map in the back of an airline magazine.  Yet in all of the routes, stops, and destinations, hubs materialize.  These hubs, centered amongst all of the commotion, are your foremost business objectives and drivers.
  4. Ultimately, your Board will build consensus, a shared vision, and a depiction of their beliefs and views about your credit union.  Your Board will have visibly articulated what it believes is possible, probable, practical, sustainable, and – most important – relevant.  Now, it’s up to Management to carry out the mind map, your Board’s outline and explanation of its exclusive strategic thinking.   
  5. Print your mind map and spend Day Two setting detailed objectives and building potential strategies from Day One.  Management, at a range of professional levels, is intensely involved with the design and delivery of the plans for the specific, strategic issues in sight.  Insight, experience, access to data, and original research allows Management to fuse your Board’s mind map into attainable plans, goals, metrics, scorecards, and results that your Board approves and oversees as Management implements.

Great Boards have an admirable, give-and-take relationship with their CEO.  The CEO depends on the Board for guidance and the Board depends upon the CEO for execution.  A map of the mind of your Board helps to ensure continuity and communication in the strategic planning and execution function at your credit union.

Jeff Rendel, Certified Speaking Professional, and President of Rising Above Enterprises works with credit unions that want elite results in leadership, sales, and strategy.  Each year, he addresses and facilitates for more than 100 credit unions.
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