Do you want to dance?

Photo courtesy of Bob_Doran

Photo courtesy of Bob_Doran

It’s a question that fourteen-year-old teens fear the most after, “Have you finished your homework?”

“Do you want to dance?”

It’s a question that not only strikes fear, but it begs you to check all the key components of your arsenal before saying yes, or even asking the question. How’s my outfit? What about my hair? Are these shoes the right shoes? What about my hair?

As a banker, it is a moral imperative (Where have I heard that before?) that you ask the question each and every quarter at least. You must ask it of yourself, your employees, your commercial partners, and of your customers. As you contemplate asking the question, and certainly before you’re hitting the dance floor, here are some key components you should consider:

  • Marketplace understanding
    • What and where is your market? This needs to get down to the census tract. Okay. Down to the parquet tile.
    • What is your share of the market? This is not always easy to measure, even in an industry such as banking. And what about loan market share? That’s always a tough one.
    • Do you have the right access points as well as the right number of points? How well are your access points doing?
    • Are you willing to exit and enter markets for the benefit of the institution and set aside your emotion in doing so?
  • Operational readiness
    • Have you put effort into making sure that process meets market? Do you have your operational dance steps figured out?
    • Digital technology is a wonderful construct. It can also be an impediment to making a human connection to your customers. Are you using digital technology optimally? In this case, optimal equals efficiency and effectiveness both in your market and for your institution.
    • Are you ETDBW*? After all, ETDBW is so sexy on the dance floor, right?
  • Financial safety, soundness and adventure
    • Have you analyzed the potential financial upside and pitfalls of hurling yourself out onto the dance floor?
    • Safety and soundness are must-have components in your repertoire; however, doing nothing out of fear of loss oftentimes leads to obsolescence, which can lead to obscurity.
    • Embrace a sense of adventure. Yes. Even in your financial analysis and direction, have a sense of adventure. Sometimes you may go to the edge of the dance floor, but that may be the better path than clinging to the wall.

I’d like to add one more thing here. The parents. The board, the regulators, and the auditors are the parents in our little story. They will shroud you and your team in reasons why you should not dance, why you shouldn’t ask the big question. They may even make you so harried that you want to give up. Don’t give up the dance, my friends. Keep the beat. Shuffle those feet.

*ETDBW – “Easy to do business with.”

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