Plansmith Blog

3 Activities to Start ASAP this Fall

Posted by Sue West on 9/23/19 11:32 AM

Oh, Autumn. The changing of the leaves, the crispness of the morning air... and the crunching of numbers?

Yep. We're bankers. It's what we do. And fall, it's the perfect time for some of our favorite - and most crucial - banking activities.

Here are the 3 game-changing activities Plansmith recommends starting as early as possible in the fall:

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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
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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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Your budget is NOT your Strategic Plan

Posted by Mike Bilyeu on 6/12/18 9:40 AM

We’ve heard these questions hundreds of times. “Why do we need a strategic plan? We already have a budget.”

Instead of developing a plan for their organization, many banks and credit unions operate using their budget. The budgeting process is already in place, line items are easily moved from one year to the next with minor changes based on anticipated revenues and initiatives.

So why isn’t this a good idea?

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5 Things Your Strategic Plan is Probably Missing

Posted by Megan Plis Knapp on 2/23/18 3:17 PM

The saddest thing I see with banks and credit unions is probably not what you'd think.

It's not a lack of passion for people, or even a disparate set of products that fail to match up with customer needs. In fact, banks and credit unions excel at both of these and they play a big role in creating a unique customer experience.

I could continue to list things, but you still wouldn't guess. Why? Because it's something we don't even think about it's so foreign to us.

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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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Focus on Customers Not Commodities

Posted by Jim Fugitte on 2/15/17 8:03 AM

With so many different community banks offering so many different products, banks often ask us how they can better compete on product offerings. If a bank is offering two checking accounts with no monthly fee, three with rewards, and one with insurance, what should a competitive bank offer in response?

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Does Your Bank Look Trustworthy?

Posted by Tom Parsons on 2/8/17 9:30 AM

Trust. Nearly a decade after the global financial crisis, banks are still struggling to win it back from the general public. According to a recent study from Brunswick Group, only 27% of Americans trust banks. And globally, 56% of people favor smaller, more personal banks – this provides community banks with a huge opportunity.

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