ABA Banking Journal - February 2014 - (Page 6)

editor's column BY BILL STREETER The toughest job 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. "Most bankers are very comfortable dealing with numbers. The best also possess skills for DEALING WITH PEOPLE" BILL STREETER bstreeter@sbpub.com 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. (p. 20). Rheo is a thoughtful fellow and he shares some of his experiences in business-banking and otherwise. Each stage in his career seems to have left him with a life lesson. When he agreed to take over at SI, he knew beforehand about the bank's troubled loans, and what likely would be required. But the deep lack of trust, poor morale, and office shenanigans at the company were unexpected. It took him several years, but he turned it all around, no doubt picking up several more life lessons in the process. Most bankers are very comfortable dealing with numbers. Yet the best bankers, it seems to us, are the ones who also possess skills for dealing with people, whether they be employees, customers, examiners, or coworkers. It's not easy. Yet, any successful venture depends on groups of people working together. Even the largest organizations really are just a collection of groups from the call center staff to the board of directors. More than just an interesting observation, this should remind us that no matter how good our "technical" skills are, success will be fleeting at best if we cannot learn to work well with others and get them to work well with each other as much as possible. Those are the toughest jobs in business. But the gains, as Rheo Brouillard can attest, are both personally and professionally rewarding. And lasting. 6 | ABA BANKING JOURNAL | FEBRUARY 2014

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ABA Banking Journal - February 2014

Chairman's View
Editor's Column
The Economy
Bank Notes
Picture This
Community Banking
Pass the Aspirin
Main Street's Mr. Fix it
Wealth management of the many
Cannabis conundrum
Compliance Clinic
ABA At Your Service
Legal Issues
First Person

ABA Banking Journal - February 2014

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