Dorothy Douglass

From my seat, I can “see” that our executive leadership is becoming more integrative in our approach to problem-solving.  We are a conservative, middle America, small community bank whose borders have spilled over into larger communities and we’ve become a $1.5 billion commercial bank.  In many ways, our senior-most leadership is quite seasoned in how they approach our business; two of these leaders have been with our organization more than 30 years each – and this is the only, or one of two companies for which they’ve worked.  They are ingrained in how they learned it, “back in the day.”  One’s personality is Highest A, and it is difficult to persuade him that anyone else could have an answer as good as his. When I say this, it isn’t ego, as he is one of most humble leaders we have.  And he’s also a lowest B.  He is extremely intelligent and highly analytical.

That being said, in the past, he has relied on his analytical assessments of any given major decision, and rarely seeks out other input.  This past year, we have seen him integrate a team for an extremely difficult decision to close facilities.  Our bank is doing well, financially, but customers continue to use alternate methods for banking like mobile banking, remote deposits, ATM, and so forth.  Closing a branch is a difficult decision, especially for those at the very top.  They feel deeply, and they care about not only shareholder value, but customer impact, and employee impact.  To have our #2 leader pull together a number of functional executives and managers to help in decisions surrounding the branch closure (4 in total) – that is a strong message, from where I sit.  He’s listened to differing opinions, and even gone with (smaller) decisions that were against what he wanted to do.

Most managers may not see this change; most executives that spent time integrating PI, then EQ-i, and further 360 assessments and the Trust & Teambuilding session from Andrea Hiner, they’ll see it.  They’ll adapt it into their work style over time, and I think we’ll see more integrative approaches in the future.  Lessening silos in our organization, I believe, is going to be key to allow us to remain profitable and earn revenues to sustain our independence.