The adage that "you're only as good as your people" gets paid more lip service by corporate America's CEOs than federal legislators' perennial promise to ease the tax burden on Americans. And while it can be argued that neither CEOs-including bank chief executives-nor Congressmen fail to see the upside of such contentions, getting there is something else. It takes focus and, more, leadership with conviction, something corporate America and the nation's elected officials fall short on.

The good news: It's never too late to start taking stock in what you have, and what you don't. Banking is and always will be about making money. That shouldn't change, though the means by which you do so is in an ever- constant state of flux. Maximizing the profitability of your financial institution requires leaders in senior management who can see the potential of existing and emerging markets, devise strategies to capitalize on those opportunities, commit to take calculated risks and then quickly and methodically execute on strategy.

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