Great Focus Makes An Extraordinary Bank

Bank Goal Prioritization

Last week’s post on bank goals garnered strong feedback with a common refrain being that there is nothing wrong with banks that have many goals.  It is this point that we want to clarify - while there is nothing wrong with banks prioritizing many goals, there is something wrong with banks working on many goals. That is to say that if your bank has a set of primary and secondary initiatives, or a list of more than 5 items, that is an indication that you could have problems with execution. The same could be said for having goals that are too abstract. Nebulous goals produce nebulous results.


It Is About Focus


Banks should produce a project plan of prioritized 1-year, 5-year and 10-year goals. In this manner, a roadmap will be created to guide the organization forward.


A New Jersey bank showed us their impressive list but their approach was flawed. They correctly had their top 5 initiatives prioritized - So far, so good. They then said they would work on the rest as resources allowed – Buzz.


Herein lays the most common mistake. Your secondary priorities are not there to tackle in an ad hoc fashion. In fact, for most banks a list of secondary priorities function as a terminal distraction. They actually serve to prevent making big things happen.


It Is The Opposite


This is an often misunderstood point – your bank’s secondary priorities are a set of projects that you avoid at all costs. They get no resources and no attention until you complete the initiatives on your Top 5 list. If you have a “To do list” then it is helpful to have a “Not to do” list.


This isn’t to say that your bank should not go after new opportunities should they arise. This is only to say that there are an infinite amount of distractions and if you let it you will never restructure your loan process, roll out a new mobile banking platform, complete a successful acquisition or grab the top lending market share in your area.


Taking major steps forward, require major focus. Don’t let the paradox of many initiatives keep you from becoming a great bank. Take a look at your current goals and see if they are concrete enough and then apply the 80/20 rule to see what goals are going to be the most effective. Figure out the goals you can leverage into the greatest amount of results and you are on your way to becoming an extraordinary bank.