I recently spent an evening leading a skull session of the top 30
Like many local banks, this one competes against superregionals by
And also like many, it has a chief executive officer who has built a
The executive vice president and chief operating officer taught school,
How was she trained? The same way, she told me, that she'd been training
That morning she had put him in a conference room and said, "Don't come
At 3 p.m. he said, "I'm down to $850. Is that enough?"
"No," she replied.
And at 5 p.m., when he had the difference down to $2.50, she let him
"That's how I was trained," the executive vice president said.
When I asked the chief executive what he wanted me to talk about during
The point I stressed on teamwork is that always putting customers'
Most of the time, I pointed out, the co-worker is also handling a
But the key to solid teamwork is empowerment. Staff members must know
Then I talked about institutional goals. I listed some:
Profit for the shareholders.
Growth - both for ego and to give employees an opportunity for
Ego inflation for the CEO (the prime goal in too many banks).
Serving the community.
"What is your bank's goal?" I asked this CEO. "Survival," he said.
That covers a lot of waterfront. I reminded the group of what one wise
"Sure, you can build friends by serving the community-but if this erodes
What does it take to survive? The group agreed it depends on service,
Larger banks often shoot themselves in the feet by changing people,
The community bank can take advantage of this-not only by offering
For example, it might offer to buy a potential customer's unused checks.
A bank can also help itself survive by promoting its stock to local
But the key to survival is a skilled, happy staff that feels it is