7 Ways to Guarantee Your Strategic Plan Will Fail and How To Avoid Them (Part II)

Last week I discussed the hard truth behind most banks’ strategic plans: they lack…well, strategy.

Let me quickly recap last week’s fails to avoid before diving into the next four.

1) The plan is a list of goals, and does not list the strategies on how to obtain those goals.

2) The plan is not focused on your next most-profitable customers. You target generic, you get generic.

3) The plan does not inspire improved performance. Without inspiration, nothing great happens.

Now let’s discuss the next four fails to avoid if you want your strategic plan to be a success next year.

4) The plan fails to bond the executive team.

Most executive teams aren’t operating as teams. They are a group at best, or a fractured team with divergent interests and a fair amount of built-up resentments.

5) The plan lacks intentional congruence.

Ninety-eight percent of the plans I review have no intentional congruency. Do your critical numbers tie in to your Big Hairy Audacious Goal? Does your yearly theme match the key results? Do your key initiatives align with the key results three years from now? And most important of all, do ALL of the elements of the plan tie to your defined critical numbers? If not, this plan—if it happens at all—is going to take an extreme amount of effort for a pitifully small result.

6) It looks like other plans.

Because you may look at only one strategic plan for a bank each year—your own—you may not see what is a glaring issue.
Because I have seen hundreds of plans, I can tell you one very sad fact: your plan looks like pretty much every other plan out there. That means you really don’t have a plan at all—not one that’s going to work for you.
Don’t believe it? Let’s start with the “mission statement.” Here’s what I tend to see: “To be a leading provider of financial services in the ABC region with high-quality products, good customer service, and a great return for our stakeholders.” Ta-daaah! There it is again.

7) You lack a fluid system of accountability to accomplishment.

This is where the rubber meets the road—does your plan get accomplished? Systematically and clearly? By the right people, at the right times?
Do people have the clear understanding that this WILL happen or they won’t be on the team soon because there is no room for tourists on a trip to the moon? Do they know that you need workers who deliver a work product, because every person’s job and income is at risk if you don’t all do what you’re supposed to do?
 So there you have it…the 7 biggest snafus that keep good banks from being great when doing strategic planning.
Only one question remains: How many of these do you want to do again this coming year?

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