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“Gentlemen, this is a Football!”

I thought I had seen it all. After years as a banker directing three of the six divisions of a  $600 million community bank, and now more than 20 years after founding Early & Co, which now helps banks across multiple states with Marketing, Advertising, Staff Training, and Leadership Development, I’ve been amazed by the deluge of regulations reigning down on bankers over the last couple of years. I’ll confess that on more than one occasion, like most of you have also thought if you’re completely honest with yourself, I’ve been briefly tempted to just throw up my arms and surrender! Take me government, take me regulators, I’m yours! Fortunately, I’ve managed to get over it and move on!

Two things always get me back on track:  1) Gentlemen, this is a football, and, 2) Some very wise and sage comments from the CEO of one of my highest performing client banks.

Let’s start with football : When new coach Vince Lombardi held his first team meeting with his Green Bay Packers team…following several years of inept Packers performances…he held up a football, made his famous “ this is a football” announcement, and proceeded to take the team back to the beginning, focusing on fundamentals and performance under pressure. Did it work? The Super Bowl Lombardi Trophy isn’t named for him because he developed the largest number of football plays or complex solutions. It is named for him because he didn’t make excuses, he instead developed the most fundamentally sound performers and winners the game had seen!

Now, the sage thoughts from my wise bank client CEO. After he and I had met for several hours with his bank’s Executive Management Team and listened to their worries and legitimate concerns about all the new and onerous regulatory burdens, he simple stated, “ Folks we’re going back to what made us”, and in essence picked up his “ banking football .“ Over the following months, he proceeded to lead the bank in re-focusing on customer service, appealing new services, making sound and well documented loans, AND the resultant high earnings performance they wanted.  

High Performance Banking. It isn’t Rocket Science, it isn’t complicated. It’s still about fundamentals, service, and performance. Don’t drop that football!

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