Strategic Planning is the process of defining your desired future state and setting your direction - where you want to get to and how you will get there. Your strategic plan ensures that employees and others are working together toward the same goals and objectives. Longer range planning - more than one year - provides you with better insights on future investments in people, capital, IT and other resources and when you need to make those investments.
Over the years, your destination may change - slightly or significantly. And your journey will have ups and downs. Is it time to change the road that you are traveling down? Your strategic planning process is your key to making these course corrections.
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There is no single approach to planning. Your strategic planning process should be designed to the unique culture of your organization. It should be "your" strategic planning" process.
There are several elements that are important for inclusion in any strategic planning process:
Review of your current strategic plan.
Assessment of your current environment: market, economy, regulation, legislation and other elements that will influence your organization.
Evaluation of your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats - SWOT analysis.
Identification of key current and future risks expected to impact your organization over this planning time frame.
Development of a financial forecast for your most likely planning scenario - and alternative scenarios.
Finally, your strategic planning process should lead directly into your annual operating planning for the upcoming year.
Keys for Success:
Ensure that your leadership team is engaged and contributes - hold an offsite planning session.
Identify a key issue to help drive focus (e.g., break through an asset threshold).
Challenge your key assumptions on the future.
Conclude with actions to be taken.
Your strategic plan should be documented in writing. This is important as a written plan allows all participants to read and appreciate - employees, board of directors and regulatory agencies.
Your written plan - while comprehensive - needs to be clear, concise and readable. No purpose - or value - in creating a written plan if it sits on a book shelf or in a folder on your computer.
Key elements of the written plan may include:
Mission, Vision and Core Values.
Concise statement on your business strategy.
Summary assessment of your current operating environment, including key risks to be mitigated.
Identification of goals and objectives and the key initiatives for achieving those goals and objectives.
Narrative on your assumed baseline planning scenario for the next several years (market, economy, regulation, legislation, etc.).
Summary financial forecasts - income statement, balance sheet and key performance metrics.
Keys for Success:
Make the strategic plan document readable and actionable - and create executive summary.
Recognize that this document is a guide for your direction - and it will undergo ongoing changes.
Share your strategic plan with all employees and discuss everyone's role in contributing to your bank's success.
The following are links to key resources for banks, credit unions and financial institutions for strategic planning: