– Thoughts on Strategy and Management

Strategic planning in practice

Oliver ReckliesAs we know from several studies and own observations strategic planning can be a very hard business. In the literature a large number of ideas are available; some of them are very helpful. Others might be appropriate for a specific industry or even a specific organization. Sometimes it can be helpful to look beyond one’s own nose and to compare the way you do strategic planning in your organization with the processes in different organizations. During my PhD-dissertation project I was given the opportunity to summarize the strategic planning approaches within the German Retail Banking business and to present my findings in a paper. My paper “Practice of strategic planning in German retail banks” first appeared in: Ekonomika i Organizacja Przedsiebiorstwa (Economics and Organization of Enterprise), number: 3 (686), pages: 39-46 and is now available online. Some of my findings will be interesting in particular for small and medium size companies.

My paper analyses the practice of strategic planning of two major player groups within retail banking business in Germany. Both types of banks face a set of burdens to organize their strategic planning processes. To discuss strategic planning approaches within these organizations I used a three step framework of (1) strategic analysis, (2) strategy finding and (3) strategy assessment. I also identified the key factors that influence the planning processes. For each element of the framework I discussed tools and methods which are employed by bank managers to overcome existing barriers. For strategy assessment two benchmarking approaches are analyzed.

The approaches of these banks give a good example, how small organizations might address the issues of strategic planning. The strategic planning activities of savings banks and credit co-operatives have to support management to make sound strategic decisions in general as well as to fulfill regulatory requirements in particular. Both types of banks face a set of burdens to organize their strategic planning processes. In particular the lack of internal resources represents a major barrier. In order to manage the organization in an appropriate way most organizations have developed solutions or at least workarounds to overcome these barriers. Strategy conferences and their preparation well developed scenario planning techniques and benchmarking processes represent the major instruments for strategic planning.

In summary I would like to argue that with this approach banks are able to transfer the outcome of the strategic planning process to the operational planning.

You can read the full paper on this website of our international managementportal “themanager.org”.


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