Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Aesop Was Right

Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Aesop Was Right

Article excerpt

OKLAHOMA "PHILOSOPHER," Ken Fergeson, said some interesting things in our visit with him for this month's profile. He's sort of a Will Rogers of banking. His easy country demeanor camouflages keen insights and a certain doggedness. He observes, for example, that there are many ways to make money quickly, but if you're in business for the long term, you'll more likely make good decisions.

People like Fergeson, who grow up and live in rural places, often seem to have a different perspective of time than does the typical urbanite. It may have something to do with space and distance. Someone who thinks of a three-hour drive as the equivalent of a crosstown cab ride is less likely to expect everything to happen in a "New York minute."

The truth is, very little of significance happens that fast. In business, the expectation of quick wins dooms many good plans to be discarded before they've had a chance to take root. In this issue, for example, is an interview with marketing consultant Charlene Stern, in which she urges bankers to put aside the transaction mindset or risk becoming no more relevant than a debit card.

The concepts she puts forward--thinking "customer first" and recognizing that sales and service are one--are not new. They are really business fundamentals that have been put forward in various guises for decades. All too often, though, these concepts become "campaigns," doomed to failure because there is no acknowledgement that the required change may take years to accomplish or, in fact, be ongoing.

This is no slap at Stern. Her observations, to us, are very much on point, and practical. …

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