|What is your bank doing about boardroom succession? (December 2010)|
Building a farm system for boards • Two airline stories illustrating good service
The online Pass the Aspirin has been hosting a discussion about bankers finding new directors as older ones retire. Add your thoughts to this and other Pass the Aspirin topics at www.ababj.com/blog/277.html
Remedy 1: Build a “farm system”
William Grant, chairman and CEO, First United Bank & Trust, $1.8 billion-assets, Oakland, Md.
A number of years ago, First United eliminated its three Advisory Boards. In their place, an Advisory Council was created. Care was used in terming it a “council” and not a “board.” This made it clear that the role of the group was advisory, and it did not bear the legal responsibilities of the board.
The council meets six times per year, in a dinner meeting following our board meetings. This affords our board members the opportunity of attending and observing. The council is kept abreast of the bank’s activities, and the bank solicits members’ input on a number of marketârelated issues. The majority of the council members are community oriented businesspeople, and able to bring this perspective to the meeting.
This arrangement provides the following advantages to the bank:
• It serves as a valued “blue sky” advisory group to help the bank establish and execute strategies.
• It provides a “farm system” for future directors by affording members the opportunity of learning about the bank, its mission, and its culture. The bank gets to know them. If there is a fit, then that person may eventually become a director. In fact, the last several directors at First United have come to the board by this route. If there is not a fit, then that becomes known before a member is placed on the board, and one side or the other comes to this realization.
Remedy 2: Keep a prospect list
Keith Pollnow, president and CEO, Choice Bank, $161.2 million-assets, Oshkosh, Wis.
We have a relatively young board. Retirement is not on the mind of our directors. However, we have developed a list of high profile and qualified shareholders that we identified as potential directors and took it a step further. I conducted an introductory conversation with the candidates that included a discussion pertaining to increased director liability and the rigors of directorship.
More Special Aspirin: Whose service makes you smile?Continuing the responses started in November, two airline stories…
Remedy 1: Take-charge service
Jeff Stephens, CEO of Creative Brand Communications
On a recent flight with Frontier Airlines I experienced the surprisingly impressive way a flight attendant handled a common problem: multiple passengers with really tight connections. Typically a flight attendant simply says “Please let people with tight connections deplane first.” And of course this doesn’t work.
This flight attendant took charge of the situation and exhibited great leadership and an excellent attitude. She:
1. Announced all the cities with tight connections.
2. Asked every passenger going to one of these cities to raise their hand.
3. Asked every passenger on the plane to look around and identify these people with their hands raised
4. Explicitly said “If Denver is your final destination, please do not get up out of your seat.”
5. Explicitly said, “If your connecting flight leaves after 8 p.m., please do not get up out of your seat.”
6. She then pointed out the passenger with his hand raised who was at the very back of the plane, and told all the other passengers: “Look at that guy. Memorize what he looks like. Please do not get out of your seat until you see that guy, right there, with the purple shirt and glasses, walk past you.”
It worked like a charm, and I made my tight connection.
With this take-charge leadership and the positive, friendly attitude she used, she exhibited what could happen every time a flight is running late.
Remedy 2: Friendly is good
Jane Haskin, president, First Bethany Bank, $163.7 million-assets, Bethany, Okla.
I am always amazed at the efficiency and customer service of Southwest Airlines.
I had used another airline for 15 years and accumulated reward points; however, every time I used points they treated me like a second-class passenger, rather than one of their best customers.
I now fly Southwest, not because it is more comfortable, but because it is efficient, friendly, and makes me feel like a valued customer because I am a frequent flyer.
This is the type of customer service I hope we provide to our bank customers.
The electronic version of this article available at: http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/sb/ababj1210/index.php?startid=20
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