Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

The Toughest Job

Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

The Toughest Job

Article excerpt

A friend of ours, who has run several businesses, once recounted how he had been asked to speak at a supplier conference. His subject was supposed to be, "materials handling." At the podium, he looked out at the audience and said, "I have a speech about materials handling, but I don't really want to talk about that, do you?"

After a pause, he suggested, "Why don't we talk about people?"

He then spent the next hour or more leading a discussion about people issues that everyone in the room had wrestled with at one time or another.

At banking conferences, speakers discuss enterprise risk management, compliance challenges, and countless other topics--all important. But underlying each topic is usually something to do with people.

Take technology. Say you've decided to equip your lenders with tablets--probably a good idea. Issues include cost, security, interoperability, etc. But what you'll spend most of your time dealing with are things like stubborn resistance by some lenders to using the new tools, or endless questions and complaints relating to tech support, and so on. Pick any subject. It's the same, isn't it?

There is a range of human factors that inhabit almost any aspect of running a business: communication (or lack thereof); cooperation (or lack thereof); personality differences ("talks too loudly"); human foibles (easily distracted); serious shortcomings (bullying, lying); good and bad attitudes; good and bad work habits; leaders versus followers and how to sort them out to best advantage, and many more.

Some of this is reflected in the cover story about Rheo Brouillard, CEO of Savings Institute Bank and Trust, Willimantic, Conn. …

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