The word "positive" doesn't remotely begin to describe Lisa Banner's attitude toward life and work. "As contrived and unbusinesslike as it may sound, it starts with the heart," says Banner, explaining her management philosophy as svp, executive private banking manager at Zions First National Bank.

"It's all about focusing on the fact that we have an opportunity to make a difference in people's lives every day. The client is not a commodity; the employee is not a commodity. They are people. And when you look at them as people, and treat them as people, the results are just amazing."

She stresses the importance of creating a collegial environment in which employees feel not only valued, but safe. "The question is, how do you bring out the best performance from your employees?" she asks. "Do you do it through fear, humiliation, rankings? Or by identifying their strengths and challenges and supporting them as people? When you do that, you set your employees free to focus on the clients, and guess what-that's where the money comes from!"

To prove her point, net income from Banner's business was up 20 percent last year from 2006, and is on track to match or exceed that growth in 2008. Her group is exceeding both loan and deposit goals in the first half of this year, with loans up 24 percent and deposits rising 15 percent from the same period in 2007.

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