Strategic Planning

Community Bank Strategic Planning Simplified

Your Bank’s Map to Strategic Planning Success With Just 9 Questions—Emmerich Can Help

I can show you how to re-capture the nearly 40 percent of profits that you’re probably leaving on the table right now. And it only requires you to answer 9 questions. “Impossible!” you say. But I’ve done it time and time again for community banks just like yours. Let’s back up for a minute though.

About that nearly 40 percent. A Mondaq research study discovered that most companies only realize about 63 percent of the financial value (i.e., profit) projected in their strategic plans. This means that most of them are leaving the other 37 percent on the table.

At the same time, our experience at The Emmerich Group tells us that only around 15 percent of strategic plans include an execution process that regularly and consistently compares business results against the plan. And of those 15 percent, it’s a rare few who match the performance of the business results they projected.

Imagine a strategic planning process blueprint that precisely maps the right strategies for your community bank… strategies proven to lower risk, improve profit, and build a sustainable system that creates predictable organic growth… a system that actually gets implemented and exceeded.

You don’t have to imagine.

That system exists, and it works. We call it the Strategic Planning Blueprint and it’s used by the highest-performing banks in the country—the ones with ROAs over 2 and net interest margins over 5.

The Strategic Planning Blueprint is so effective because in just 9 questions it corrects what almost every bank is doing dead wrong with their strategic planning approach.

Other banks continue with the barely-breathing strategic planning model of “mission, values, SWOT, and goals”—the model from the 1970s— while savvy banks are using the Strategic Planning Blueprint to map a highly-effective, accountable think-tank process. It’s like the difference between going to war with a flimsy stick and having a stealth bomber.

Here are the 9 questions that determine the success (or failure) of your community bank’s strategic planning process. Every “yes” answer raises your chances of successful strategic planning.

Is everything in your strategic plan focused on the proven, most profitable next customers?

Why would you ever want more customers you’ll lose money on? You wouldn’t. So why do most strategic plans talk about getting MORE customers rather than getting the RIGHT ones? If you don’t properly identify those right customers and get laser-like in your focus to build a plan around them, your entire plan will rest on a crumbling foundation.

Is your community bank’s strategic plan based on proven strategies that work today?

Well over 90 percent of banks that have strategic plans have a bunch of “best guesses” at their plans’ core. You can run your bank gracefully or painfully—and the difference is in spending the time up front to get the right strategies.

Are the values you proclaim unique to your community bank?

Take a look at your own plan. Do you say things like “integrity,” “accountability,” and “excellence?” What power and persuasion do they wield if any and every other bank can say the same? Your values are your “true north” —meant to guide your decision making, hiring, operations, and more. Fail to define them and well… let’s just say your chances of going beyond mediocre performance are slim to none.

Do you make sure that intended results and key initiatives are both included in the plan?

These are the “how much” and the “how to” —and a strategic plan that doesn’t have them is neither strategic nor a plan.

Are your critical numbers the driving numbers that will assure growth, profitability, and safety are always advancing?

Management guru Peter Drucker is famous for saying, “What gets measured gets managed.” The crucial part that often gets left out could be summed up as, “So make sure you’re measuring what matters.” Tracking the number of new accounts opened is meaningless unless you’re also tracking account retention, average cross-sale value, etc.

Do you have alignment so that all of the key components of the plan tie together AND also tie to the few—but highly specific—target niche markets of the most desirable nextaccounts?

Alignment amplifies impact. At The Emmerich Group, we’ve identified 15 key components of an effective strategic plan. We can show you how to ensure your plan has all of them, all working in concert, all pointed at the proper targets, and all primed to move you in the desired direction.

Do you have strategies in your strategic plan? (Don’t laugh—most banks don’t.)

This is when a kick in the butt comes in handy. Brace yourself because there’s a reality that you are not going to believe.

Most community banks don’t have a single worthy-of-the-name strategy in their strategic plans. In fact, most people who do strategic planning for a living don’t even understand strategies. If they did, there would be strategies in banks’ strategic plans. But because they don’t, most plans are nothing more than a list of goals. You may as well call them pipe dreams because without actual effective strategies, they are worthless.

Do you deploy strategy circles to make sure you’ve anticipated every stall and have plans in place to overcome stalls that could otherwise derail the implementation of a given strategy?

Stalls, hiccups, and unforeseen circumstances are going to happen. Strategy circles are the way to “be stubborn about your goals but flexible about your methods.” We can show you what they are and how to use them to backstop the results you seek from your community bank’s strategic planning process.

And finally, here’s the one Strategic Planning Blueprint question that will determine whether you will struggle or succeed next year:

Does your community bank’s strategic plan have an iron-clad process for implementation?

That’s right—the linchpin of it all is an implementation process that has executives reporting into your plan weekly, all employees knowing their key results and key responsibilities, complete transparency of reporting, a method to deal with any area at risk in the first week it is at risk, and on and on and on.

The implementation process is where the rubber meets the road to make sure your plan isn’t just lip service.

When your community bank can give a hearty and resounding “Yes!” to the questions in the Strategic Planning Blueprint, you can be sure your strategic planning process has the right strategies and that they get implemented—that they actually HAPPEN—to create the breakthrough performance and profit you seek.

How to Predict If Your Strategic Plan Will Succeed or FAIL

Free, On-Demand Audio Training From Roxanne Emmerich Reveals the Strategic Planning Secrets of the Most Successful Community Banks in America

Roxanne Emmerich