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Second Installment: Are Fox(es) Watching Your Bank Hen House?

When I started this blog series, the first fox I focused on was “compliance.” We are keeping that blog, and future “foxes“ blogs,  on for a while, so you will have the complete set for review. While I have not received any negative responses re: the compliance blog, I’m sure there are some. I believe this to be true: anytime you present a thought to any significant size group, some will probably agree with it, some probably will not. As I go through my list of “foxes“, I would expect the same to be true with each one. Never the less, uncovering the foxes, and briefly discussing them, is an important and helpful thing to do, so we move forward in our discussion.

The second Fox is something I love very much: Marketing.  I was a senior officer and the director of the Marketing, Marketing Planning, and Training and Staff Development divisions of a large local community bank for several years. Doing effective, productive bank marketing was, and is, a personal passion for me.

Continuing under the heading of improving a bank’s overall Performance and Perception, here goes: All marketing efforts, from the efforts of the lowest paid staffer in the Marketing department, to the division head, to the bank CEO, MUST be focused on the bank’s “goal”, NOT on any Marketing Director or CEO’s personal “role”.  From here I could spend page after page amplifying this, but I don’t have the time available to write it, and you don’t have the time to read it. So, I am going to relate a recent personal experience that illustrates that “survival”, particularly “ keeping your job” survival, is real and very much alive.

When I first started Early & Co ( E&C ), I spent days, weeks, months and years on the road calling on banks to develop bank clients. While most of our new clients today come from referrals from other E&C clients, I still make an occasional sales call on a bank CEO to keep my "feel"alive. Recently I sat down with the CEO of an excellent community bank to discuss ways we could help it perform even better. As we talked, he got excited, and since he was excited, I was excited! Then he dropped the "role"shoe:  He wanted to have his Marketing Director call me to discuss it, and he would take her pro or con recommendation on using, or not using, our company. I shuddered. Been there done that. When she called, me, we discussed all the different things we do for our bank clients, and she dropped the "role"comment: “It sounds to me like you want to take my job!” Bingo… realistically it was over. She was into hen house survival “don’t possibly endanger my job" role playing, and she never focused on how she, working with E&C to make her marketing efforts even more effective, could help the bank hit and surpass it’s goal…AND in the process, help her career!

Was she wrong to 100% focus her on her “role” over the bank’s “goal”. I think so, but you decide that. She was the Marketing ”Fox”, watching over her bank’s “Hen House”, protecting her job! The REAL problem , however, was not with her. That problem rested with the CEO…who, while he should do all the due diligence he wanted to do on E&C, and talk with any and all of his department heads related to the areas where we provide assistance…SHOULD be a CEO who looks at the bank’s problems and opportunities openly and honestly, and then takes whatever legal, ethical , and affordable actions he can take to help his bank hit his bank’s goal!   

In recent weeks I have met with two of our client bank CEO’s, each of whom leads the best earnings bank on assets in their state, both being CEO’s who  focus on goal before they focus on role. Making hard decisions to protect the hen house is what leaders in all levels of the bank do. It’s not always easy, but it is always very effective!

Installment three of “Hen House”coming soon.

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