Headlines: October 2012

first_imgCows with a Sweet Tooth: Mayfield, Ky. The price of corn is too high for many farmers. To combat the cost, Joseph Watson of United Livestock Commodities has decided to feed his 1,400 cattle chocolate in an effort to help them gain weight. Watson gets second-hand candy at a discounted rate and gives it to the animals with a nutrient mix. In related news, the price of chocolate milk has suddenly decreased.Virginia Asks for Acorns: Richmond, Va. Good people of the Commonwealth, your Department of Forestry needs a favor. Officials are asking residents around Virginia to collect acorns in an effort to preserve native trees. Early October is an optimal time to the pick up ‘corns of the 11 needed species, including Allegheny Chinkapin, White Oak, Northern Red Oak, and Chinese Walnut. Requests of those willing to help include not storing the acorns in plastic bags and not storing the same species together. Collected acorns can be dropped off at the nearest DOF office.Supersized South: Jackson, Miss. The South continued its dominance in the waistline wars. When the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released its state rankings for the country’s highest obesity rates, Mississippi took the top spot for the sixth straight year. West Virginia, Alabama, and Kentucky also cracked the top 10.Make a Grown Man Cry: Gastonia, N.C.First the good news: no one was seriously injured when a car smashed into a tractor trailer on I-85 in late August. The bad news: the truck was carrying 43,000 pounds of beer, which spilled all over the highway.Food to Trash: Washington, D.C.Forty percent of the food in America ends up in the trash. The astounding figure was released in a late August report by the Natural Resources Defense Council that shines a light on domestic food waste. Food has now overtaken paper as the biggest occupier of our landfills. Edibles being tossed by farms, restaurants, households, manufacturers, and grocery stores adds up to $165 billion a year.Beyond the Blue RidgeRUI: Rafting Under the Influence: Fairbanks, AlaskaNext time you float down your favorite backyard river with a cooler full of suds, think of William Modene. The 32-year-old was arrested for DUI after floating down Alaska’s Chena River with a hearty buzz. Authorities responded to calls about a rafter acting intoxicated, and when they pulled Modene from his raft, his breathalizer test spiked to .313—four times the legal limit.MTB Worlds Cancelled: Alberta, CanadaThe 24-hour Mountain Bike World Championships, which was supposed to take place in mid-September, was cancelled due to an insufficient number of entrants. The race, which propelled regional hero and mountain biking endurance pioneer Chris Eatough to fame, was initially scheduled to make a debut in Canmore, Alberta. Eatough won six straight championships at the event that dates back to 1998. His just-short attempt at a seventh was documented in the gritty independent documentary Go Solo.Glacier National Park Needs a New Name: West Glacier, MontanaIs Glacier on your park bucket list? You should probably get there sooner than later. Scientists are predicting the park’s namesake could be gone by 2020 at the rate they are disappearing, thanks to climate change. The park even earned a place on Frommer’s “500 Places to See Before They Disappear.”last_img read more

Does your strategic plan aim to fail?

first_imgAfter years of training and completing several marathons, it is safe to say I love running. Pushing my body to its limits, the daily training regimen and the thrill of race day are amongst the top passions of my life. That’s why I get up early every morning and pound that pavement — to succeed and achieve. (Plus the free t-shirt at the finish line)Now, imagine a world in which we aimed not for success but failure (maybe that’s why the sport of race walking or power walking has always driven me a little bit crazy — it’s like you’re telling your body “go as fast as you can, just not really” or as sportscaster Bob Costas put it, like a competition to see who can whisper the loudest).Unfortunately, too many credit unions take this approach with their strategic plan. They go into it with the best of intentions (and we all know the destination of the road with which that is paved). After investing considerable time, talent and money on strategic planning, credit unions straddle it with a variety of unrealistic expectations and hobble it with insufficient resources.If your credit union would rather empower its strategic plan, consider the following missteps that can debilitate it from the start.Resisting change. Your credit union is embarking upon a strategic planning session for a reason – to plot a new course. It is therefore necessary that you learn to let go of the things and processes you’ve done previously. This doesn’t mean you abandon all past success — rather, it means you use your strategic plan to build upon them. If you invest all that time in a strategic planning session and then jump right back into the old rut, you’ve completely wasted everyone’s time.The solution? Embrace the change of your strategic plan. Breaking with old plans, traditions and processes is painful, but pain is often a necessary part of evolution and change. Something wasn’t working in the way your credit union was doing things, which at least in part prompted the strategic planning session. Once you have new direction from your session, let the past go and run with the future.Lacking balanced data. For a strategic planning session to have a chance of success, people must come to the table with the right amount of the right data. It is this data (about yourself, your budget, your competitors in the broader financial services marketplace) that will, in many ways, help you chart your course during your strategic planning session.The solution? Think ahead and bring the right data to the table. You must also be careful to avoid “death by data.” By this I mean — data is terrific, but only in the right amounts. Anybody can pull statistical data and fill page after page of reports with numbers that really only serve to divert and confuse. Tremendous amounts of data are not the key — rather, it must be the right type of data. Before strategic planning sessions, this might include things such as a summary of your membership, MCIF figures, the CUNA Environmental Scan, pre-session survey results, etc. Data in and of itself is not enough. You must strive for balance. Ignoring shelf life. Milk has a shelf life. Eggs have a shelf life. Contrary to popular belief, even Twinkies have a shelf life (a somewhat creepy 45 days). Guess what? Your strategic plan has a shelf life, too. It’s only good for a certain amount of time. All too often, credit unions take their carefully-crafted strategic plan, slap themselves on the back and stick it on a shelf somewhere. Then what do they do with it? Nothing. Which begs the question — what was the point and purpose of the entire strategic planning process!?The solution? Actually put your strategic plan in place. If you’re not going to use your plan, you should just save the money and not have a planning session at all. For it to be of any use at all, your strategic plan must be seen as a living document, viewed, reviewed and revised continually. Put follow-up measures and people in place before you leave the session.Considering how much emphasis credit unions place on strategic plans, it’s a little bit painful to see just how many put a ball-and-chain on them. This shackle can take many forms, from resisting change, to lacking balanced data, to ignoring shelf life. However, by considering ways to avoid these hindrances to strategic plans, credit unions take a more proactive role in ensuring their success.Remember: your strategic plan is far more like running a marathon than participating in race walking. And I’m sorry — I just can’t keep from saying this: race walking is goofy. 3SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Mark Arnold Mark Arnold is an acclaimed speaker, brand expert and strategic planner helping businesses such as credit unions and banks achieve their goals with strategic marketing insights and energized training. Mark … Web: www.markarnold.com Detailslast_img read more