Banks and credit unions invest (or at least they should invest) a great deal of resources into strategic planning. Going to a special venue. Feeding participants. Taking key executives away from their daily duties. Even hiring a facilitator.

While that is all well and good an insight from a recent book I’m reading hit me between the eyes. In The Revenue Growth Habit, author Alex Goldfayn said, “you know that the key to growing your business is to underplan and overexecute.”

This may sound crazy coming from someone who facilitates strategic planning sessions for multiple clients, but Goldfayn is absolutely correct. You should focus far more on executing than planning. Let’s break that quote into two core principles.

Under plan

The quote doesn’t mean that planning is not important or doesn’t lead to success. However, there is a key principle with strategic planning:

Keep it simple.

Financial institutions fall into the trap of putting way too much into their strategic plan. Surveys, financial data, action steps, strategic initiatives, SWOT exercises and timelines fill up giant binders. You get the idea: we feel like the longer our strategic plan is the better it must be.

Here’s a recommendation: what if you simplified your strategic plan into a one-page document?

Don’t over plan: under plan.

Over Execute

Once the plan is crafted, sometimes it winds up on a shelf or in a binder. That’s the worst place for it. Another key principle with strategic planning:

Focus on execution.

What strategy you choose is sometimes less important than actually achieving that strategy. One word that should absolutely be in your planning vocabulary is accountability. Who is going to do what and when are they going to do it?

Here’s a recommendation: what if you divided your strategic plan into daily activities your team performs?

Don’t under execute: over execute.

Where are you putting most of your strategic resources? Into planning or executing?

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