Sunday, January 06, 2013

Bankers: Circle the Wagons Around Your Strategy

Whether you are a bank, thrift, or credit union, I hope you have a strategy for 2013 and at least three to five years into your future. If not, you better assemble the troops and determine the bank you want to be, or you run the risk that your customers don't see you as anything but just another bank (or thrift, or credit union, what have you).

So often, though, FIs develop specific objectives, like mentioned below, and limit the input on how exactly to accomplish the objective to a few people. I propose something different this year. Run a New Year's Resolution Contest for your employees to use the collective brain power of everyone on your payroll to achieve your objectives.  Here is how it can work...

Once your strategy team (typically senior management and the entire board or committee of the board) determines your FIs course and identifies what success would look like in terms of goals, the next step is to lay out the tasks necessary to achieve those goals.

To kickoff the contest, the CEO, or other strategic leader, can draft a companywide e-mail as follows:


Dear Colleague,

Schmidlap National Bank has proven to be an excellent resource for professional practice firms (lawyers, accounts, doctors, dentists, etc.) within our markets. Your hard work has given us a premier reputation and a 12% market share.

Your board of directors has adopted a strategic plan that includes the following strategic objective and goal:

Strategic Objective: Be recognized as the best FI to professional practice firms in our markets.

Goal/What success looks like: Achieve a 15% market share for operating accounts in the professional/technical NAICS category in our markets by year-end 2014.

We are seeking your valuable input on how to achieve this goal. Specifically:

Identify what you believe to be the one task that would have the greatest impact in achieving our goal. For example:

Sample proposed task to achieve goal: Develop a once per year professional practice forum at the Ritz/Carlton that includes a program designed to help professional practices run better and position Schmidlap as an expert in professional practice cash flow management.

Send your best idea directly to me no later than January 30th. Your idea will be presented anonymously to senior management, who will select the best ideas to achieve our strategy.

Those whose ideas are selected will receive: Recognition at our annual employee awards event. A position on the team formulated to execute on the Strategic Objective. And two additional paid time off days.

Although we cannot execute on all tasks presented, we thank you in advance for your thoughtful ideas and your continued support in Schmidlap National Bank's success.


Joe Buck

What are your thoughts on this idea or do you have another idea to engage your employee base in executing your strategy?

~ Jeff


  1. Great piece, Jeff. Hits with what we are trying to do right now with the collective mindset.

  2. Thanks Colby. Sometimes we fear throwing it out there because we have to reject many if not most of the ideas. But if we position it properly, I believe the collective thinking of the whole will outshine the few.

    Your Ducks fared better than my Irish!

    ~ Jeff