The strategic plan covers many aspects of business development and growth. Many of the big rocks that are addressed in a strategic plan are overarching guides for the organization.
Vision and mission
SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats)
Pillars or main categories of focus (business development and organizational growth are usually found within here)
From there, many organizations then define goals and objectives to cascade down the organization, track and measure. There are a few areas of focus that often don’t get enough attention, in my opinion, and deserve to be looked at separately:
- People. Whether or not your strategy is to growth organically, through acquisitions, product development or anything else, people will be how you get it done. Including the people and culture aspect to your strategy helps to ensure you have good information, obtain buy-in, set realistic goals and measure the right behaviors. Your people are the implementors of your strategy and that can greatly help or hinder your progress. Having discussions around categories such as culture (how will we maintain, improve or change our culture), development (how will we develop our high performers and leaders) and recognition (how will we reward progress and results) can stop, slow or fast-track the implementation of your strategy. And if you don’t plan for this piece, you leave it up to chance.
- Succession Planning. This is an area that is not only appropriate, but timely as you discuss strategy. Who will be your next level of leaders? What do they need in the way of development? What gaps exist and how do we plan to fill them? To ensure success with your strategy it is important you look at the organization and decide who you have to step into positions, what areas you have weaknesses or holes, and devise a strategy to fill the gaps. This also helps you retain your key players by helping them understand what a possible future looks like within the organization.
- Competitive trends within and around your industry. Too often organizations look at their competitors, but don’t look peripherally at outside competition and changing industries. Banks don’t just compete with banks anymore: they compete with savings and loans, insurance companies, credit card companies, online providers and the list keeps growing and changing, just as the needs, wants and expectations of our clients change. Broadening your vision can help an organization learn from what might appear to be a completely different industry, but shares products, service expectations and concepts we can put into use in within our walls. For example, what can we learn about Domino’s pizza and their pizza tracker? We don’t make pizza, however, there’s a lot to be learned in how they solved customer wants through technology. And what can Chick Fil-A teach us about culture and values? Those are just some examples about how looking beyond banking can help broaden our vision.
- Truly understanding customer wants and needs. All too often I see organizations show up to their strategic planning believing they know what the customer wants. And it’s often not exactly on the mark. This is the time to go full force into understanding your customers, and determining what their needs are now, and their future wants and desires. We can’t take for granted that the way we deliver banking services today is how clients will want them delivered into the future. This is a great opportunity to engage your employees in becoming detectives and talking to customers, using alternative means such as research, surveys and focus groups to help ascertain and uncover new opportunities or areas of improvement.
Use your strategic planning as an opportunity to engage everyone in the organization to help them be a part of the process.
BankTalentHQ Career and Management Coach