Plansmith Blog

Influential Women in Business 2018

Posted by Sue West on 12/7/18 1:50 PM

Having tried my best to avoid ‘labels’ of all types, I seldom bring attention to achievements that are gender associated. However, the good work of others is something that should always be recognized. Male or female, it is always important to acknowledge role models that inspire.

In recognition of their hard work and dedication, Plansmith would like to congratulate this year’s 2018 Influential Women In Business Honorees, including our client, Jean Theis, EVP and COO of Andigo CU.

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On Thanksgiving...

Posted by Sue West on 11/15/18 9:49 AM

For those of you who are fans of the sitcom Seinfeld, George Costanza would break down this word into its two components: thanks and giving.

How many times in our daily lives do we say “thanks"? A lot! It’s our common, casual, and pretty standard way to end each email, text, and verbal conversation. I’m not saying that it isn’t heartfelt. I’m just saying that this time of year - and this particular holiday - give us a chance to pause and appreciate each other. And, maybe more importantly, pay more attention when someone offers us a thank you.

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Client Success Stories: Those Who Inspire Us

Posted by Sue West on 9/14/18 2:04 PM

Too often when we’re asked why we do what we do, we naturally default to talking about ourselves.

The truth is, it’s the people we work with every day that inspire us to do what we do.

Our clients make their own success. Their ambition, discipline, commitment, and transparency bind every person throughout their organization to a common goal. There are so many of these success stories, we wanted to highlight several noted in recent banking publications.

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5 Simple Tweaks to Build a Better Strategic Plan

Posted by Megan Plis Knapp on 7/20/18 3:23 PM

Only part of a successful strategic plan lies in the plan itself. A good plan, just like a recipe, is important. But any good chef will tell you, choosing the right ingredients is only half the challenge. The rest lies in executing the recipe properly.

So, how can your bank or credit union make a better strategic plan?

Here are some simple tweaks to the ingredients and execution of your strategic planning recipe.

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The Most Important Variance – Where You Will Be

Posted by Craig Hartman on 6/25/18 2:58 PM

I was playing golf the other day and, of course, while I’m playing I’m thinking about work, which is a bad idea since I should be concentrating on my game. But I’m always thinking about ways to make planning more effective. My thoughts today were on variance analysis. Everyone uses variance analyses in their board reports to check progress against plan and it is certainly a good check. At board meetings we review our current position relative to last month, year-to-date and last year-to-date, etc.

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How We Improved Strategic Planning at Plansmith

Posted by Craig Hartman & Christine Lake on 6/12/18 11:19 AM

As a company passionate about the value of planning, we have our own strategic plan. Like most, we would gather for a few days every year to review our mission and vision, discuss our market opportunities, develop objectives, determine action plans, and assign responsibilities. But, I am ashamed to admit, just like many companies we never really executed as well as we should for a number of reasons.

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Bipartisan Banking: It's About Time

Posted by Sue West on 4/25/18 12:05 PM

I have been in the banking industry since 1979, and on March 22, 2018 I received a copy of something that I never thought I would see that made me say out loud, “It’s about time!”

It was a letter to Members of the Illinois Congressional Delegation. The content of that letter was to express strong support for bill S. 2155, the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act. What surprised me was that it was signed by the presidents and CEOs of 4 financial trade associations, comprised of both banks and credit unions.

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There is No Secret Sauce

Posted by Sue West on 12/27/17 10:32 AM

We all like to start the new year with aspirations to renew, realign, and regain control of our world.

I don’t know about you, but those words just get me pumped.

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3 Ways to Build an Engaged Strategic Planning Team

Posted by Megan Plis Knapp on 3/8/17 3:35 PM

Don't let your bank fall victim to outdated preconceptions of strategy. Traditionally, strategy has been made out to be a big, scary word. It sounds daunting, dark, and almost threatening. Or, at the very least, kind of boring. But what you're thinking of is the strategic planning of the past.

Make strategic planning a priority that your team will take ownership of in a positive way. Here's how to put a fresh twist on your bank's strategy.

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Learning to Lead: 5 Things a Leader Must Learn

Posted by Sue West on 12/28/16 7:56 AM

From my very first job at 15, I knew I had management potential. I was always able to coordinate a variety of projects at once. I often compare myself to a circus act. You know, the one that keeps the plates spinning on sticks at one time? Now known as "multitasking."

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