Though most of us don’t have summers off, most of us also spent the first 18 or more years of our lives having summers off, and so we somehow expect that these hot, sunny days will be more quiet than the rest of the year. Of course, if you have school-aged children and you suddenly have to figure out where they’re going to be while you are working instead of safely ensconced in a classroom, it can be quite the opposite, but strangely enough, still we associate summer with having more time for such things as vacations and projects…and strategic planning.

Yes, it’s that time again: the annual ritual of setting aside time to refresh, revamp and rethink long-term goals (and how to achieve them). But will you come out of it feeling refreshed…or refused? Will you see it as valuable time spent, or mournfully saying to yourself, “Well, I can never get those eight hours back…”

Because the only thing worse than a really long meeting is a really long meeting with no meaningful outcome, CU Journal asked some strategic planning experts to identify some of the most common mistakes credit union leaders make when they head into their strategic planning sessions – and how to avoid them (as well as how to fix them if you’ve already made them).

While they identified a number of real doozies, there’s one that stood out for me: the number of CUs that simply don’t do any strategic planning. For many, it’s a matter of manpower and resources – when you only have a handful of people, it can be all but impossible to carve out the time for this process.

That only makes it all the more important to optimize the time you have — and that’s what our special report is designed to help you do. On pages 10-14, you’ll get expert tips to help you get the most out of your strategic planning — as well as your regular, day-to-day meetings.