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The Remedy Blog

Strive or thrive? Pivoting with Strategic Planning & Economic Changes

| by Karen Lowerr | 0

Are you just thriving right now? Is your head above water? Or would you consider your organization to be striving? Right now is a weird time for financial institutions. End-of-the-year processes are completed in your community financial institution. Tax Season is upon us. Spring is coming soon. Now is the time of the year that most community financial institutions start to think about summer and fall (at least 90-120 days out). What activities are you planning for upcoming board meetings? How do you stay ahead of tasks like strategic planning within your organization? The Fed will increase rates 3 or 4 times in 2022 and consumers are dealing with inflation fears…How do you put all this information that you know on our industry and the economy to work and still stay ahead of competitors?

With all the listed economic conditions above, staying ahead of strategic planning with your leadership will help your institution be a successful community leader. Consider these five important thoughts when planning for your upcoming strategic planning session.

Below are five considerations to help you succeed:

  • Calendar time to prepare for your upcoming strategic planning session. If you do not calendar this time, it will be used for something else. Planning ahead is using business hours towards bank strategy. This is a very important topic. Always calendar time for strategy sessions with leadership and your board of directors.
  • Narrow down priorities. Can you narrow down your plan to Top 3 or Top 5 priorities for 2022, and three priorities at the financial institution until 2025? If you have 20-40 high-priority items, how well will your focus be? Not every financial metric can be top of the list. What are the few things that will provide the highest Return on Investment for your bank or credit union?
  • Consider the length of time for your strategic plan. Most organizations plan for 1, 3, and 5 years all at once. With inflation, supply chain issues, interest rates increasing, the popularity of cryptocurrency, etc., it will force your organization to pivot with the economic challenges. Can you plan for 1 and 3 years out and then plan for another conversation with your board in six months for long-range planning? It may be harder and harder to envision five years out when you are just talking about getting customers in your lobby tomorrow. Give your organization/leadership team some grace during this unprecedented time. It’s ok to have a short-term and long-term plan, even if it doesn’t meet the five- or seven-year criteria of the strategic plan. What works for your organization may not work for another.
  • Having the right people in the right seats is part of the strategic plan. Consider having performance reviews for both leadership and board of directors. Maybe consider having term limits for a few seats on your board. Some can be life-term and others could be a 3-year seat. Getting a mix of customers and community members on the board is ideal. Do you have someone on the board that is into cryptocurrency? Technology? Marketing? Does your organization document the succession plan for middle and senior management? What if your President wants to retire in six months? What if part of your board all turns over at the same time? Can you recover quickly with a leadership change? This is something to be thinking about all the time.
  • Follow up from previous goals. Before you can move forward, did you complete a post-mortem of last year’s goals? Did you meet or exceed revenue targets? Did you make your numbers with loan goals? Knowing the current climate at the organization and discussing it will help you to leapfrog into the future. Sometimes you have to discuss the good, the bad, and the ugly so everyone knows the current situation.

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Other considerations to help motivate your team with strategic planning: bring motivating items to the meeting, bring prizes (logoed apparel, food, or gift cards) for participation or scribe work, compliment everyone in the room before you start the strategy session, go around the room and let everyone talk to for one minute, etc.

The above considerations and more can be addressed by an external consultant outside of your organization. Sometimes the leadership team is too close to the project or has a specific opinion on important tasks that move forward the group, so going outside of the organization could really benefit the group, the session, and the follow-up.

If you want an external facilitator to ask challenging questions, consider a consultant like Remedy Consulting for strategy work. Remedy can provide content, build and/or facilitate your strategy session, or provide end-to-end strategy services – be the coach/facilitator from the start through the end of the project. For more information on the types of sessions offered or learn more about pricing, please contact Karen Lowerr at klowerr@remedyconsult.net.


Trusted Advisor to Banks and Credit Unions

Remedy Consulting helps financial institutions (FI) thrive through best-in-class fintech consulting services specializing in System Selections, Contract Negotiations, Outsourcing/In-House Advisory, Bank Mergers & Acquisitions, and FI Strategic Planning. As a trusted advisor to banks and credit unions located in Wisconsin, the Remedy Team has executed over 700 system selection and vendor negotiations since 2016. Our clients receive a cost reduction on their core vendor contracts and increased efficiency with Remedy's Price Repository. To learn more about Remedy Consulting, contact us today!

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