Strategic planning today—more critical (and more advantageous) than ever
Jim Swanson, SVP–Bank Strategies, a Division of Bankers’ Bank of the West [copyright 2018]
Posted October 2018

From time to time, many of us find managing our day-to-day workload challenging. Of necessity, we often find ourselves in head-down mode trying to get through the tasks at hand. It’s easy to get stuck in this pattern day after day, month after month.
But in this era of rapid change, it’s more important than ever to periodically pull yourself out of the weeds and climb to a higher vantage point where you can evaluate where you are and where you’re heading as an organization.
Most of us know this but allow the detail of our lives to take control and displace higher priorities. As John F. Kennedy once aptly observed, “Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.” There’s tremendous value in sitting down with the key players at your bank for a well-structured strategic planning exercise.
An effective strategic planning process—one that incorporates both ongoing monitoring and follow-up—can produce a multitude of benefits. Common outcomes include, among other things:

(1) Readiness. Strategic planning gives your team an opportunity to react to the threats and capitalize on the opportunities emerging on the evolving landscape—changes in social and economic behaviors, demographics, technology, and delivery platforms.

(2) Concentrated effort. It’s an ideal forum for getting everyone in the organization apprised of, committed to, and doing their part to achieve initiatives and objectives that are critical to the bank’s success.

(3) Stewardship. The process is an opportunity to ensure the leadership is fulfilling its fiduciary duties and meeting expectations and needs of stakeholders — shareholders, employees, customers, and regulators.

(4) Cohesive communication. A long-lasting byproduct of sound strategic planning is the assurance that all key contributors, including the board, will be kept regularly informed of the progress on goal achievement, the plan’s strategic initiatives, and its action steps.

Bank Strategies, a division of Bankers’ Bank of the West, has been assisting community banks with strategic planning for many years. Reach us at or 303-903-9369 to discuss how we can help facilitate or provide consultation to further the success of your next strategic planning session.