There's an old cliche that says....if you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there. That sort of sums up the importance of strategic planning. Not only are the regulators looking for a more formal process, but it just makes good business sense to have a road map of where management and the Board sees the institution three to five years down the road. Important decisions need to be made - Do we want to sell? Do we want to acquire other banks? Do we want to go beyond our geographic area?
One feature that all good strategic plans share is that initiatives are defined and specific individuals are charged with completing the task in an assigned time frame. If everybody is in charge, then no one is in charge. We can throw out lots of fancy acronyms like SMART and SWOT. But, however it gets done, a well-thought out strategic plan should become the blueprint to guide the institution.
We can act as a facilitator for the planning sessions. Often, those meetings are held off site to maintain a proper focus and engaging conversation without worrying about office distractions.