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Your Future Self Will Thank You

Your Future Self Will Thank You

Selfies are saying something about your community bank

People love taking selfies these days, capturing life in the moment. We’re not knocking it. In fact, it can be kind of fun creating great memories with friends. People hurry to join in on the selfie action to capture that perfect moment in time. You never know what to expect in the finished snapshot, but selfies are often quite telling; you’ll notice the wrinkles, the bad hair, the friend who forgot to open her eyes, and even the photo bomber in the background. Looking back at your old selfies reveals a bit about yourself and your life that you may not have thought about in that particular moment.

Let’s take the selfie approach and apply it to your community bank. Right now you may have goals for the new year or even a 3-year plan. Maybe you set some goals in the past. Go back and look at your previous plan. Don’t have one? If that’s the case, then odds are, you’re probably seeing the same results you’ve always seen. If those results include an ROA below 1.5, you shouldn’t be good with that. Maybe you had a 3-year plan but haven’t hit the stated goals. What happened? Are you in the middle of that plan and still no closer to hitting the goals than you were at the beginning or so far off pace that you have no way of reaching those goals? If this is the case, then start with your selfie.

Take a selfie of where you are today

If your 3-year vision is based on false assumptions and bad information, then your starting point is flawed and the 3-year picture will never come into focus. It’s critically important to take a selfie of where you are today. Here are a few ways to do that.

  • Conduct a mystery shop of your branches – More than sounding nice and polite on the phone, are your employees engaging with the callers? Are they spotting the layup opportunities to help? Are they relational? A good shop (recorded audio) will tell you those things.
  • Do an old-school audit of your loan officers – An easy way to do this is to pull the last 10 to 20 loan applications and then ask a few questions. Ask the officer for personal information about each of those customers such as for their hobbies, family (kids names), their job. This will give a good idea of how relational they are in the loan process.
  • Evaluate your incentive plans – Are they goal based or quota based? Is is focused on providing incentive for offering the right product, to the right customer at the right time? Or is the focus on a product of the month mentality? Are employees earning incentives for the same sale more than once?

Paint the picture of where you want to be

Once you know where you are, you can then begin the process of moving to where you want to be. Most community banks have a strategic plan, but very few take serious steps to implement the plan. If the plan was important enough to write, then it should be important enough to implement. Here are a few keys to painting the picture.

  • Do you have who it takes? – Take a look at the talent around you. Is each person on your team capable of driving results to achieve the goals? Set clear expectations and hold each individual accountable.
  • Get rid of the photo bombers – Those who consistently fall below what is expected. Those who always have an excuse for “why not”. Those who gossip. Those are the ones who are distorting your picture. You can’t fix them. Your choice is to accept the flawed picture or crop them out of it.
  • Stay within the lines – When painting or drawing a picture, it’s important to stay within the lines. Moving outside the lines makes for a messy or odd looking, abstract painting. In banking we want clear and concise, not abstract. Set your non-negotiables. Allow for creativity and innovation within the lines of the non-negotiables.

Implementation is an ongoing process

Any strategic plan should be specific, focused, realistic, and flexible. However, without a plan for implementation, your strategic plan is worth no more than the paper it’s written on.  With this in mind, you have to continue the process of taking your selfies and tweaking the painting as needed. In other words… Track and train. Then track again and train again. Then do it all over again. The selfies will become cleaner and clearer through this process and then your picture can be adjusted as needed and seen to successful completion.

SCMG, Inc.
9 Laurelwood Dr
Covington, LA, 70435
(800) 560-1127

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