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The 7 Habits of Highly Successful Community Bank Managers

by | Managing Employees


It’s crazy-making…

You create a strategic plan, promise the board that you will deliver, and then communicate it to your team. You think you’ve covered all of the bases, but the first month in, the sickening reality hits—you’re already off base.

Sure, the economy is tough. And yes, the competition is doing crazy things.

But your board does not want to hear it, and you know that your days of peaceful existence as an executive are coming to an end…unless you get your management team to perform to the expectations—and they get all of THEIR people to perform.

So what are the missing accountability habits that separate the “get it done” from the “excuses run rampant” people?


  1. Choosing the RIGHT “Predictive” Measures at the RIGHT Time

Revenue is king…but the queen is what makes the king happy. You can’t manage revenue because revenue is a historic measure. And how can you change history?

You can’t change history, but you can change tomorrow’s history by managing the predictive critical drivers today.

Those drivers fall into two categories—frequencies and competencies. Manage these two, and you will change your future history.


  1. Taking Out the Head Trash

Every person in your organization has head trash—it is just a matter of how much and which ones.

The head trash sounds like this:

“We have to give him the lowest rate—he’s a great customer!” Really? Then shouldn’t we create more massive value and charge him much more? That’s a key principle of every high-performing organization.

“We don’t have enough time.” Interesting. So how many hours do you have in the day? And how many days do you have in the week? Huh, that sounds like the exact same amount of time that every Fortune 100 CEO has who is making millions more than you. Perhaps you may want to change how you manage the time that you have.

Or one of my favorites: “We need more people.” Actually, we probably need one less—perhaps YOU. What we need is people with clarity of thought—people who find the fastest way to safer revenue and know-how to get there fast.

The limiting beliefs that people carry are at the core of all non-performance. Period.

Unless they are willing to take out their head trash and understand that the filters telling them why it can’t be done are killing their chance of performing, and radically slowing down everyone around them, nothing will change.


  1. No Ears for Excuses

Business is just one big accountability system IF done correctly. But there is one distinction that people miss…if people don’t hit their numbers and deadlines.

If people don’t hit their numbers and deadlines, there eventually is no money for payroll.

We’re all hired for results—not to nicely fill our chairs.

Managers who accept excuses hold people in a small place. We actually hurt people because we buy into their limiting beliefs that will, inevitably, destroy their ability to create the necessary performance to keep their jobs.


  1. Iron-Clad, Visible Accountability Systems

Without a system, there is no predictability of future accountability. It needs to be simple, visible, celebrated and coached too. But the system must be replicable from manager to manager and from job to job.

This is no place for creativity—one simple follow-up system with expected accountability is a must.


  1. Removing the Fear of Measurement

Humans fear measurement. Yet if done right, they love it.

Imagine going to watch a basketball game with no scoreboard. We would spend millions of dollars every year, watching men in strange clothing run back and forth across a wood floor. Without the scoreboard, nobody would pay a dime.

Yet when a measurement is brought into a bank, people freak out.

Why the difference?

Because the measurement is placed ahead of confidence.

Confidence comes when people know HOW to do their jobs. And it comes through a systematic and ever-increasing level of difficulty, starting with the insanely easy, so people feel SO confident, they can’t wait for the next measurement.

Almost every bank messes this up in a BIG way by not understanding that culture is a system of ever-increasing and significant measurements.


  1. Results Tied to Fun

I remember my first day working in a bank—I was sure somebody had passed a memo out before I arrived saying, “Check your personality at the door.”

This was one somber and serious bunch.

Then in another branch, I noticed a guy who did five times the production of all the other lenders. He was fun. Clients loved him, employees loved him, and he met every setback and near-disaster with a playful spirit. Those who have a dark cloud over their heads, who see the world as one giant conspiracy against them, rarely perform well. But those who take results seriously tend to take themselves lightly.

Managers who foster an environment of fun out-perform the ring and bored every time.


  1. Breed an Unstoppable Mindset

Bank managers who consistently create great results know that the ability of people to remove obstacles with grace and ease is at the core of their results.

Managers who buy into the idea that an obstacle is an excuse to slow down, stop, or miss a deadline or outcome are sure to cause you to lose your job in the long run because, let’s face it, boards are getting cranky about hearing excuses.

They can’t listen to your excuses anymore, so the buck must stop further down the line by making sure managers don’t buy excuses in the first place—from their people OR themselves.

It’s about a mindset of being powerful and having a “Bring it on!” mantra.

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