Westover Strategy, Inc.

Grow Financial Federal Credit Union

Strategy Map

Challenge

Grow Financial Federal Credit Union (Grow) with assets of $2.8 billion, was founded in 1955 and is one of the top credit unions in the Tampa Bay, Florida area. In preparation for becoming CEO, Thomas Feindt decided to engage an external consultant to guide the senior team through strategy discussions. Thomas’s expectation was that stepping back from day-to-day activities and taking a longer-term perspective would give the team a forum to identify opportunities and challenges, establish strategic priorities, and sharpen the focus of the organization under his leadership. Susan Byrd met with Thomas, Chief of Staff Laurie Holloway, and Chief Lending Officer Dodge McFall to gather background for a proposed approach.

Approach

After considering the background and goals for the strategy work, Susan recommended a two-step process:

  1. Build a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) analysis

  2. Create a Strategy Map

Individual SWOT interviews with the senior team would elicit input on key issues in the financial services industry and for Grow, in particular. In addition to providing context, the interviews would help Susan and the senior team build rapport and trust. After the SWOT was developed and discussed with the team, each would identify their top 3 priorities. The set of top 3 priorities would provide valuable content for a one-page, three-year Strategy Map at a two-day offsite.

A Strategy Map is a one-page document that gives clear, concise information on an organization’s purpose, direction, guiding principles, strategy, objectives, and measures for the next 3 years. The objectives are grouped under 4 perspectives: financial, member (or customer), processes, and people and culture. The purpose of the Strategy Map is to align the team around the top priorities and provide clear direction to the organization.

Results

The SWOT provided useful indications of relevant content for the Strategy Map. At the offsite, the senior team debated and refreshed Grow’s purpose, direction, and guiding principles, before dividing into breakout groups to draft objectives for the 4 perspectives. All components were the subject of lively discussion, as the team shaped priorities. Once the objectives were developed, the senior team sequenced them into 3 groups, bearing in mind urgency,dependencies, resource requirements, and risks.

The team worked closely with Susan to finalize the Strategy Map, ensuring that there were neither gaps nor redundancies, and that the map reflected Grow’s desired strategic path forward. Focus groups were held to gather input from a cross-section of team members, resulting in edits to map content to enhance clarity. Grow customized the map design, creating a unique, attractive artifact. It will be used for various purposes, such as communication, onboarding, and performance management.

The Grow map was launched at an All Team Member meeting, to align everyone along the same strategic path and to convey how each team member’s work supports Grow’s purpose and direction.Susan worked closely with Grow to develop a detailed Communication Plan to support the launch, including background, tools for managers, Q&A, guidelines, glossary, and a communication calendar summarizing Strategy Map events. As Chief of Staff, Laurie encourages momentum and facilitates quarterly progress updates. The senior team participated enthusiastically in the process to develop the Strategy Map and is actively collaborating to achieve the established strategic priorities.

"Susan is a valued partner of Grow and a trusted advisor to our leadership team. When we began our Strategy Map journey together, we knew developing a strategic artifact was necessary to effectively communicate our new CEO’s direction. What we did not anticipate was the impending pandemic and what it would mean for our organization. Susan adapted to our sudden shift in focus as we worked through our operational response to the crisis. Her collaboration with the team was paced by our ability to remain agile and she guided us to find creative ways to complete the Strategy Map on time. The map positions every Grow team member to contribute to their fullest, while reflecting the collective voice of senior leadership and the strategic priorities for our future. We are all centered around a common goal with a genuine understanding of our purpose as we serve people, not profit."
Laurie HollowayChief of StaffGrow
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