The Advantage Letter by Dave Martin
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Wednesday, February 01, 2017
Volume 22 | # 521
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Success seems to be connected with action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don’t quit. » Conrad Hilton

Blissfully Aware

Years ago, I had the habit of watching the local news in whatever city I was staying. I wanted to get a "feel" for the place.

I have mostly stopped that practice. I reached the conclusion that I could do without spending 15 minutes hearing about everything awful that happened that day, in whatever place I was.

One of the jokes I'm fond of making with friends is that ignorance is bliss, and the older I get, the more I plan on leaning on that strategy.

It may be that our “wired world” gives us too much information. When I am online a bit more than I probably should be, I find myself becoming worked-up by things that, in reality, do not affect me at all.

However, many of us too often choose to swim in a sea of annoyance.

Who knows? Maybe we would rather be annoyed than bored? (That’s a scary thought.)

I frequently get on my soapbox with bankers about how we knowingly (or not) program ourselves. Without getting into a remapping of neural pathways confab, suffice it to say that in more ways than one, we become what we think and talk about all day.

Unfortunately, that means far too many of us become proficient complainers.

When much of what we choose to talk about with team members consists of whatever a manager, coworker, customer, or random person did to make us mad, sad, annoyed, frustrated or depressed… we program our brains to become more efficient at finding those things.

We literally become more proficient at being mad, sad, annoyed, frustrated and depressed.

That only sounds funny.

It’s actually pretty maddening, saddening, annoying, frustrating and depressing.

I’m not naïve enough to think that totally eliminating complaining is possible…or even preferable. We should bring legitimate problems and issues to light when appropriate.

I would argue its equally important to be aware of what are legitimate and actionable issues, and what are, well… simply energy sapping rants.

Yes, our workdays can be taxing. But, relax. Take a breath.

Have a laugh now and then.  There are more positive things out there than many seem able to see.

Be the leader who helps folks find them.

Your work environments and customer engagement levels will improve accordingly.

That’s something that all parties can appreciate.

Everybody Get Onboard

I suppose at one time, the banking industry did look a lot like Mr. Banks from Mary Poppins or Mr. Drysdale from The Beverly Hillbillies.

Amazingly, those type characters still seem to be the image many folks have of bankers all these decades later.

For years, I’ve told groups that I would invite anyone to sit in on the banker sessions I’ve conducted or participated in across the country, or the visits I’ve made to both corporate offices and branches.

The diversity in the banking industry rivals or surpasses just about any you can name.

I was giving the subject of finding and hiring exceptional new employees a good bit of thought recently during conversations with a few new managers.

When asked these days, I often return the question with a question. I inquire about that bank’s training, onboarding, and mentoring practices.

If those are strong, the universe of great potential employees available is wide.

You can hire for attributes like personality and personal drive that are largely inherent traits, knowing you can teach recruits whatever they need to know for the job.

If not, we most often find ourselves restricted to trying to poach employees another bank or CU has already trained. That has worked for some.

Others have frequently been as disappointed as pleased with that strategy.

What I remind managers of is that their training departments and materials are critical.
That said, the best initial training in the world may be wasted if the environment new employees find themselves in is “sink or swim”.

It may take a little time for even talented newbies to become strong swimmers in the sea of challenges and opportunities bankers circumnavigate each day.

Something I also remind folks of is that bringing on and keeping great people helps everyone succeed.

Helping new employees get up to speed and succeed doesn’t simply benefit them.

You are not bringing on new “competitors”. You are bringing on the folks you will depend on to help you succeed in your own jobs.

When teammates, new and old, are solid and “pulling their weight”, all are better able to focus on delivering superior service and growing their business.

All tend to become more productive. All tend to improve their individual career prospects.

How onboard are you in helping all succeed?

Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do. Don’t wish it were easier, wish you were better. » Jim Rohn

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in these columns are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of any affiliated entities or sponsors.
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Dave Martin

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Dave Martin has become one of the most prolific writers in the banking industry. His columns and newsletters are read in thousands of financial institutions each month. His keynote presentations, seminars, and podcasts have an authenticity and humor that brings teams of all sizes and seniority levels together.

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