Reconn Radio: Podcast #27 – Week ending 08/22/14


The All-Kinds-of-Respect Issue: It’s not me, it’s them, and another Midnight Run

What does your grand opus look like? How much of it is really yours? This week, we pay respect to those that have gone before us and consider those that will come after us. The movies. Yes, the movies. Midnight Run is on our minds this week. We neglect thinking before taking action. I understand in moments of craziness and emergency, thinking is an obstacle we don’t need. Otherwise, thinking caps on. And, believe it or not, Labor Day is almost here.



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A Farm Fresh Perspective markets are in full swing this time of year. Handmade signs beckon us to stop and browse the morning’s harvest and friendly farmers gladly chat about growing conditions and recipes. It’s a time to reap the rewards of their hard work, time, and attention to the details. Planting conditions are not always ideal and the weather can waylay even the best garden plans. But still, the farmer adjusts and adapts to the current situation by watering more, watering less, and pulling out the ever-eager weeds. So in the end, we benefit from all of their efforts and score some fresh marmalade and pints of sweet blackberries.

Believe it or not, strategic planning for financial institutions is not unlike the work that our faithful farmers dedicate themselves to year-round. We make plans, we till the soil, and we plant the seeds. We establish a vision for where we want to be in the coming months and years and we work day in and day out to make it happen. We make adjustments as the economic weather changes and we keep our eyes on the goal: growth, whether it be organic, or from the acquisition of new “farmland,” increased profits, and perhaps rotating the crops of our products and services. Like the farmer, we must mind the details. If we grow impatient and attempt to maximize yield at the expense of the land by dumping an aggressive amount of fertilizer on our seedlings, we will kill our crops and never see a healthy harvest. Because the farmer has one ultimate goal in mind -feeding people- she must manage her land, her crops, and her employees with care. We must keep our sights on our goals as well.

In the heat of the summer, however, ”garden fatigue” can set in. Home gardeners and farmers alike grow weary of the water demands of the garden in the dry, hot conditions of the peak of summer. And those ever-present weeds? Enough!

As we head into fall planning sessions, have you grown tired of last year’s strategic plan? Has it been a while since you even looked at it? It is always exciting to plant new seeds, but the day-to-day work can seem painfully unfulfilling at times. Exhausting, even. Maybe garden fatigue has drained the life out of your strategic plan and the harvest seems out of reach. It happens to the best of us. Through careful planning, mindful adjustments, and an eye on that ultimate goal: harvesting the food and feeding the people, the profits will come.

Many of our clients appreciate the new perspective we can offer in creating next year’s strategic plan. We not only help plant the seeds, but keep them watered and fertilized as well. And those darn weeds? We can help with that, too. If you’d like to have a conversation about the specific needs of your financial institution,  we can be reached at 908-368-1270. We’ve even scooped our share of, um, manure over the years.


Reconn Radio: Podcast #26 – Week ending 08/15/14


The Return from Summer Issue: Strategic planning with purpose, the wobbly economy, and goodbye, Mr. Williams

Your purpose is paramount. However, it should not be pursued so that you drain the bank account. We speak to these two conflicting items in this podcast. If your strategic planning efforts focus solely on profits, how will your financial institution stay true its purpose? We also pay our respects to Williams and Bacall. And how can we forget the economy? We cannot. We did not.



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Shiny Happy People

happinessJust go with me here, folks. With all deference to the 80′s band, REM, the title of our post is not about a catchy pop tune with great harmonies by the ladies of another 80′s band, The B52s. Indeed, it is more about the three words. Shiny. Happy. People. With the advent of more and more technology, incremental as it is, and regulation, institutions both public and private have emphasized haute couture over and above purpose, chivalry, and service. Let us explain.


It seems we have, with some level of investment, turned our energies towards making everything nice and shiny. Appearance has become the mainstay of advertising. The glow one has supersedes the energy one commands. Shiny new things – clothes, computing devices, castles, and cars come to mind – demand our purchasing power. I get it. I like new things, too. Finally, all institutions have stressed having things over being something. And, even when being something has been the focus it is that way because of the end goal of having something.


Happy is another thing altogether, but it has been corralled into a station in society that again maximizes aesthetics and the impermanent and diminishes the human consciousness and the permanent. As institutions, specifically financial institutions, deal with this term and its many variants, several items to consider come to mind.

Responsibility – the customer is ultimately responsible for their own happiness. Having said that, we shouldn’t give into the dark side of marginal and shallow programs that emphasize form over function, skin over sinew.  That is our responsibility.  This is an internal focus as much as it is an external focus.

Reflection – think first and then act. However, don’t overthink it. When an inflection point occurs in the institutional life cycle, one must be prepared and one must be ready to reflect on the change. How does the leadership circle process change? What elements should be considered? We believe there are six key elements. More can be found here.

Reverence – no matter what, be thankful for, and to some degree, fearful of, Nature’s majesty. In the vein of shiny above, we have elevated ourselves to the position of doer, of maker. We are not. As we consider our responsibility and reflect on the possibilities, we must understand we are here to do what we need to do. Serve our purpose, and, yes, get out. All the while, we must understand and appreciate we are but a speck.


This one is a little simpler. Treat others as you would like to be treated. People are impermanent. Systems, too, are impermanent. Don’t get caught up in shiny over happy. Put others’ happiness above yours and there will be a greater reward for all. Oh, by the way, it’s not easy. Changing ourselves from the inside takes real work. Transferring that change to others is almost impossible.

But, it’s worth it.