ABA Banking Journal - July/August 2016 - (Page 8)
> CHAIRMAN'S vIEW
You Are Shaping Our
Industry's Next Leaders
BY dAN BLANToN
WELCoME To oUR leadership-focused issue of the ABA Banking Journal. I hope you'll
both enjoy and be inspired by bankers' examples of leadership lessons from their worst
jobs and how de novo institutions drive leadership development.
I have relevant experience in both
of these departments. Early in my
banking career, for example, I tasked
myself with both being a banker
and delivering pine mulch-two
truckloads on my lunch hour.
While not a worst job per se, it could
be uncomfortable driving a dump
truck in the warmer Georgia months
with a dress shirt and tie on. My
solution was to have an air-conditioning
system from a '66 Mustang installed
in the truck. This made my deliveries
much more tolerable. Another plus:
I became a much better driver
because I learned to use the mirrors.
My de novo banking experience
was also instructive. I was the first
employee hired when Georgia Bank
& Trust was formed in 1988. When
you're thrust into a leadership role
like I was, you look to the examples
of mentors and role models. These
were leaders who were able to inspire
by both their words and actions.
One of them was Mr. Russell
Blanchard, who enjoyed a 46-year
banking career and was president
of Georgia Railroad Bank.
Mr. Russell was, and still is, an icon
in Georgia banking. He was the
dean of the Georgia Banking School
at the University of Georgia when I
ABA BANKING JOURNAL | JULY/AUGUST 2016
graduated from the program. He was
also a former chairman of the Georgia
Bankers Association and encouraged
me to say yes when I was approached
about following in his footsteps there.
Among many other things, Mr.
Russell taught me how to be a
professional banker. Although a
true Southern gentleman, he was
very stern and regimented.
Few things escaped his discerning eye.
I usually don't wear a tie on Fridays,
but I always have a sport coat. One
Friday I headed out for my weekly lunch
with my Daddy and was halfway to the
restaurant when I realized I'd forgotten
my coat. I decided I'd rather be on time
for Daddy than go back and get my coat.
As fate would have it, Mr. Russell
happened to come in while we were
eating. As he walked by our table, he
greeted Daddy and then he leaned
and even an unsolicited
opinion or two-with
someone you know wants
to grow in their career.
over to me and said, "Bankers
are awfully casual these days."
I never let it happen again.
I was always so very proud that, in
retirement, Mr. Russell banked with
me. And, any time I happened to look
out and see him in the parking lot, I
would run to put on my coat before
he could make it through the door.
Of course, I didn't look up to Mr.
Blanchard because he taught me
how to dress. I looked up to him
because he taught me, in more
ways than one, to respect the role a
banker plays-with his employees,
his customers and in his community.
He made me a better banker and a
better leader. And when I think of him,
I remember that part of my duty as a
leader is to pass his lessons along.
So as I do that in my bank, I encourage
you to do the same. Share your
experience-and even an unsolicited
opinion or two-with someone you
know wants to grow in their career.
Help them become the best teller, loan
officer, president-whatever-they can
be. And then be proud knowing you
have helped shaped the future leaders
of a great and vital industry.
dAN BLANToN is chairman of ABA and CEO of
Georgia Bank & Trust, Augusta, Ga.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ABA Banking Journal - July/August 2016
HOW BANK STARTUPS BUILD LEADERS
LEADERSHIP LESSONS FROM THE WORST JOB I EVER HAD
BREAKING THROUGH $10 BILLION
PLATFORMS AND PARTNERS
EXCEEDING CUSTOMER EXPECTATIONS STARTS AT THE CORE
ABA COMPLIANCE CENTER INBOX
FROM THE STATES
CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
INDEX OF ADVERTISERS
ABA Banking Journal - July/August 2016