You wake up one morning and realize it is time for change. You plan a diet to get you from where you are today to where you would like to be. There are many motivations for a diet: weight loss, fitness, change of appearance or other life goals. Financial institutions have varying motivations for putting their branch network on a diet. They may want to reduce costs, alter the appearance or just be leaner. Understanding the motivation is critical to devising a plan that can succeed.
A diet is part of a wider lifestyle of exercise, work, family, finances etc. Your branch network is part of the wider environment of channels, environment and services. If these are not aligned and working in harmony, it is unlikely that the overall goal or strategy will succeed.
Now that you know what you want to achieve with the diet and the culture and strategy it must align to, the components of the diet need to be identified. What is the mix of carbs, protein, fat & supplements? In the branch network you decide on the mix of locations, technology, people and services.
The internet is full of diets that, allegedly, if followed exactly will achieve amazing results in a short time. Those that have succeeded realize that a diet should be tailored to the individual, should be monitored and adjusted and should have flexibility. When designing your branch network diet, copying a diet that worked for another financial institution is unlikely to work for you. Design the diet for your organization, monitor and evolve it as you better understand what works and what does not.
A diet has consequences, such as the need for new clothes or an impact on what the rest of the family eats. The same is true for the branch diet as changes to customer behavior will impact how they interact with other channels. The changes that are implemented may lead to further changes in a year as organizational and customer behavior evolves.
Diets fail for many reasons; expectation of a quick fix, not following plan, not measuring inputs, unrealistic goals or lack of support. All of these reasons are the same for your branch diet; strategy needs to be considered, the plan need to be simple and clear, execution should be relentless and review and change is critical to achieving the long term goals.
Today is always the best day to create your diet plan!
Read also Agile Approach to Branch Design, another of our blogs that describes how applying agile techniques encourages flexibility and embraces change within your branches.