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What REALLY Works in Strategic Planning

by | Strategic Planning

I believe most banks are sitting on a goldmine of untapped potential for organic growth and increased profits.

In this session, you’ll discover how you can get far more—and more predictable—profit and growth impact from your strategic planning process.

After reviewing over 500 strategic plans, I find that many banks lack effective strategies, lack intentional congruence, and essentially have a list of goals, but lack an effective way to get there.

If you’re the kind of leader…

  • Who hires a brilliant facilitator and comes out with a well-written plan that sounds good… but doesn’t shake the ground from under your feet for a transformative profit surge, you’ll love this episode.
  • Who is happy with your plan and you’re doing well, but you wonder if you could be enjoying even better results, you’ll love this.
  • Who is frustrated that you spend a pot load of money on the off-site facilitator and it just never gives you the breakthrough strategies that, within weeks, could power-up your trajectory for decades. If that sounds like you, keep listening.

Here are the typical challenges that may be keeping you from an even better year…

Most banks have a strategic planning book with a plethora of goals.

The missing components are at least 25 different actual strategies that will bring earth-moving changes that get you paid more for doing business with the most desirable prospects in your market.

In fact, in looking at hundreds of plans over the years, I can honestly say that I’ve not seen more than five total strategies combined. That’s right, on hundreds of plans—only a total of five. 

Most plans lack intentional congruence.

The BHAG is not congruent with the psychographics and firmographics of the top 2-3 target markets and the key initiatives are a disjointed list of “to dos.” There is no alignment.

The plan doesn’t usually account for an extremely relevant fact: If you are a normal bank, only 13% of customers are profitable.

The problem is, it doesn’t have solid and proven strategies to get more profitable customers like the 13%, nor does it get all of their business at extreme premium pricing. So even if the plan is executed well, it still puts the franchise value at risk.

EVERY business is facing these. Thousands of strategic plans are lackluster and ineffective…without exception.

Four steps to successful strategic planning

Let’s talk about strategic plans that actually work at bringing in your most profitable prospects and making them your best customers. There are just four simple steps you need to take to see positive results in a few weeks.

Step 1: Align the plan to the most profitable customers and prospects.

UNLIKE so many strategic planning processes, you must start with understanding the psychographic and firmographic similarities of your top 100 most profitable customers.

Then, to make sure your plan is about PROFIT and not busy-work, ensure you’ve based the entire thing over no more than three integrated psychographic/firmographic intersections of that group. 

Step 2: Forget the old models.

Forget everything you learned about strategic planning in school. That old model of mission statements, SWOTs, and goals is ridiculously antiquated.

We live in a world of disruption where non-bank competitors are vultures ready to eat the lunch of banks who still think a yearly strategic planning process is enough to drive growth and profitability.

Heaven forbid if you are a bank that is doing the “we do strategic planning every two years” approach. Have you ever seen a top 10% performing bank do that? Me neither…

Step 3: Create intentional congruence in the one-page plan. 

Move to a one-page strategic planning process.

But don’t think because it’s brief that it’s easy or quick. If you do it right, it will be ten times harder—but then you’ll work 100 times smarter all year. You’re packing a lot of punch in that one page, with an extreme focus on the few things that matter.

Make sure there is intentional congruence so that all the elements of the plan are working together for an immediate profit boost. 

Step 4: Create visible alignment of every person to profit.

Get everything and everyone on a visible accountability system so that every team member in your organization knows what they need to do every week to align with profit. 


Put a strategic plan into place using those elements, and you can relax and know that your plan will be implemented. You will get people away from being “busy” to being profit-oriented, which dramatically contributes to your bank’s bottom line.

In my next episode, I’ll cover how to create real, customized strategies—not goals—and implement them into different product lines. You’ll be surprised how quickly you can see a boost in sales.

To your continued success,
Roxanne Emmerich

P.S. This episode is part 1 of a 5-part series on strategic planning. To get notified about the next episode, sign up via the form at the top of this page.

P.P.S. Don’t want to wait for four more episodes? You sound like my kind of exec. Sign up today for my upcoming, complimentary masterclass on strategic planning happening next Thursday, August 18, at 11am CDT, and come out of strategic planning season with a concise, well-defined strategic plan.

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