Strategy tips for Barclays

With the departure of Bob Diamond as Barclays’ Chief Executive, there is much speculation about the bank’s future strategy and discussion about the strategic options available to Barclays following this week’s dramatic events.   This got me thinking about the role of strategic planning in organisations and what makes for a good strategy.

I am continually surprised at the number of organisations I talk to who don’t have a clear strategic plan which informs everything they do.  Some will claim to have a plan but, when I question further, it isn’t really being implemented, not everyone knows about it and it doesn’t get reviewed on a regular basis.   A well executed strategic plan helps an organisation to know what they are trying to achieve and how they will get there.  More than that, it helps everyone in your business to be focused, motivated and efficient.

As a non-Executive Director for a number of charities I am often concerned about the lengthy progress reports received by the Board.  These reports provide an update on progress against a long and varied list of activities to develop new ideas or explore opportunities.  These charities are not well resourced; staff are stressed and work very hard.   The problem is that, in some cases, there is no clear understanding of the overall goal for the organisation, nor is there a well communicated, carefully monitored plan to achieve the goal.  No one is really sure about the priorities or the actions that are critical to the organisation’s success.

The liberating part of a good strategic plan is that it helps you to define not only what your organisation must or will do, but also what it will not do.   Each potential opportunity or initiative must be evaluated to determine how it will contribute to the overall goal.  If it doesn’t clearly contribute to achieving the goal it doesn’t get done.  The result is a more effective, motivated organisation that has clarity about what it is trying to do.

I am sure Bob Diamond had a strategic plan for Barclays, whether it was a good plan is another matter.  Strategic planning is essential to good business.  MBAs are told this and Chief Executives know it.  Most of us understand how to formulate a strategy.  What doesn’t get talked about so much is the execution of the strategy.  How many excellent strategic plans must there be out there which, once written, sit on a shelf gathering dust while life goes on as before?   Although the task of developing a good plan is not always easy, the really hard part is engaging staff in its implementation and constantly reinforcing the plan by good communication throughout the organisation.  A plan that isn’t understood, supported, rigorously monitored and reviewed simply won’t get done – what a waste of effort!

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2 Responses to “Strategy tips for Barclays”

  1. Lani Bannach says:

    Great points! Lani

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