In my previous diary entry about my adventures as the new president of a community bank I reported the results of a questionnaire our management team filled out. After the results were tabulated I met with all the staff managers for a morning, and with all the store managers that afternoon.

My agenda was to firm up their insights on our best opportunities, identify the keywords they'd like to see in our mission statement, and provide the direction they were looking for.

The meetings were terrific! Our folks spoke openly, and we told about where we were all coming from. Their concern for customers shined through, and I spoke of my conviction that our job is to find combinations that create value for customers, shareholders, and team members - not to transfer value from one group to another.

We also had enough chocolate and rock n' roll to lift the spirits and remind ourselves that fun is a core value at our company.

I expect our team members to keep this column and use it to guide their own decisions. Management cannot and should not make all the decisions; in our banks, team members are empowered to make their own. I am confident that if they use our mission statement and values as their mantra, they will do the right thing.

MISSION: USING TEAMWORK TO DELIVER EXCELLENCE

Teamwork is an important value in our company. By working together we make the whole greater than the sum of the parts.

We deliver value on the customer's terms while operating as a proactive, dynamic, progressive organization. We seek continuous improvement and work together to achieve it.

We are committed to being the best financial institution - second to none - in the eyes of our customers, team members, and shareholders by creating outstanding customer experiences, being a great place to work, and producing outstanding financial results.

Integrity governs how we interact with other team members, our customers, and our shareholders. We define integrity as communicating openly and honestly, delivering what we promise, and, over all, doing the right thing for our three major groups of constituents: shareholders, team members, and customers.

We treat each other with respect, being truly interested in each other as people and supporting each other, without politics and negativity. We treat our customers the same way, and foster open and candid communication with our shareholders as well.

We hold ourselves accountable for quality and for timely delivery of what we commit to. We rely on each other for support and good advice, and we "own" each problem as we see it, without passing the buck. Outstanding financial results are what our shareholders expect and what we are committed to deliver.

Fun is a core value. We spend too much time at work not to enjoy it. We celebrate small victories, provide rewarding and fulfilling work, and give ourselves much to be proud of. We share our fun, pride, and enthusiasm with our customers and shareholders.

STRATEGIC OBJECTIVES

They are simple and few. We are building a world-class organization with the right people, but our processes and focus need to be enhanced and sharpened. Though tactics and specific routes may vary, the strategic objectives will remain consistent until they are realized. They include:

Restructuring the balance sheet. It has some characteristics of its underlying institutions, including the thrift in the system. As at other thrifts, many deposit customers gravitated toward CDs and many loan customers borrowed to buy homes. Our opportunity is to build core deposits and consumer loans and to leverage the commercial loan origination power in our franchise to fundamentally change the character of the balance sheet.

Building a sales culture. Our people are capable, our customers have high potential, and the markets we serve are growing and attractive. We need a robust, demanding sales culture to leverage these assets. Our management team is committed to executing a highly ethical, effective, and customer-centric needs-based selling process throughout the sales force.

Incentives and recognition. We have not enjoyed a consistent incentive program throughout our banks. Our incentives have not always been clearly aligned with the value created for shareholders. This gives us an opportunity to add the fun dimension to our company, by combining financial and recognition incentives to motivate the entire team and celebrate the victories of its members.

Actionable and timely financial information. We need to leverage the talents of our finance staff to build better management information systems for the "business owners" within the company as well as for the sales force. If we expect our teams to think like owners, we need to provide them with the information that will enable them to do so. Our sales forces deserve a daily scorecard to ensure that their accomplishments are celebrated quickly and that timely midcourse corrections are made.

Ms. Bird is the president of California Community Bancshares od San Francisco.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.