Plansmith Blog

Planning Doesn’t Stop At 5:00 On Friday

Posted by David Schwieder on 2/12/20 1:45 PM

At Plansmith, we focus on not only helping our clients with preparing an annual budget, but identifying the action items involved in making the plan come to fruition. When you work all week helping banks and credit unions do a better job of planning, it’s probably not uncommon to take a step away on the weekend and refresh the batteries.

But do we ever really stop planning?

Last weekend, I was making plans (there’s that word again) to attend a concert at Chicago’s Thalia Hall. Since this was a general admission show, my goal was to arrive early in order to be relatively close to the stage. If you’re a bank or credit union CFO, think of this as my desired ROI.

Read More

Turn Your Budget into Action

Posted by Bill Smith on 1/9/20 11:05 AM

A budget without a Playbook is just numbers on a page.

You know what your targets are but you also need to define how you will get there.  A Playbook defines the actions needed for success, and the people who will manage the process.

But many managers say they just don’t have the time or resources.

Plansmith’s Playbook is a simple online platform to help you create clearly defined initiatives, track progress, and reach your targets by creating an action plan for your budget.

Read More

My Budget Is Done, Now What?

Posted by Bill Smith on 8/15/19 3:18 PM
Thankfully, my financial institution's budget is done – now what? Continue planning, that’s what.

Most of us hate planning. So why would I want to start now, when I could wait until the usual time next year?

Read More

15 Ways an Outside Facilitator Can Save Your Next Strategic Planning Session

Posted by Kevin Stang on 7/24/18 3:01 PM

We’ve all been in meetings that weren’t exactly productive. You know how it goes…

  • The meeting begins with little to no agenda
  • You waste most of the time discussing off-topic subjects
  • Debates over seemingly meaningless items end up derailing progress
  • Someone ends up creating more questions than solutions
  • The meeting takes an hour longer than it was scheduled for
  • The team walks away with no clue what to do next
Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

Bankers: Are You Considering a New Branch Location?

Posted by Kevin Stang on 4/18/18 2:42 PM

So, you decided to open a new branch? This comes after you’ve spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on new electronic delivery technologies. It also comes after we just hit a record for financial institution branch closures. And let’s also add the fact that lobby traffic has reduced by 10 times the rate of those branch closures. Given these facts, how can you know if you’re making the right decision?  

Read More

Strategy Lessons From a Chess Grandmaster

Posted by Tom Parsons on 12/20/17 3:12 PM

Garry Kasparov. You might only know him as a former world chess champion; perhaps the greatest of all time.

Read More

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.

Read More