As I sit down to write this message to you, I am mindful of all of the change happening throughout the world.
First, we are witnessing a senseless war occurring in Eastern Europe, which most of the free world views as purely barbaric. Families broken and lives shifted forever. Towns leveled. Residences incinerated causing irreversible destruction. “Trust” among nations ruined for generations to come.
Second, we are coming out of a period of time in our lives (COVID) that we never really saw coming or believed would happen. Millions of deaths worldwide (some very close to us) and the smartest minds in the world are yet to develop a 100% effective vaccine or cure. Wearing masks and spending the majority of our time at home for the past two years has shifted our mindsets about many things…yet a pent-up desire to start living life to its fullest again has the public excited.
Third, and perhaps closest to home for our associates, is our merger with Dollar Bank. Change in the workplace can affect one’s day-to-day workload, schedules, habits, and training. Our teams have put in a significant amount of work to ensure the merger process is as smooth as possible for our customers. We are well on our way and hoping the banks can fully merge as early as this Fall. I’m proud of the teams and thank them for their ongoing creativity, patience, and adaptability. Their handle of change will make all of the difference.
Globally, nationally, and locally – change literally surrounds us today.
As we see all of this happening around us, it is important to realize that life transforming changes have occurred for each generation. I think we would all agree that it is one thing to read about these big events in a history book, but it’s quite another to experience them firsthand. It will be interesting to see how history books document today’s world. I have heard it said so many times throughout my career that it’s not the event that shapes the future, it’s how we respond to those events that makes the difference. Some of the strongest and most productive generations have been those who went through tragic and unprecedented change, but strong and effective leadership responded, thus bonding people together under a common cause.
This should remind us that we all have multiple avenues of response to everything that happens in life. Time spent reviewing options, laying out possible courses of action, and most importantly, listening to those with great experience, insight, and honorable intentions is important. I have always tried to avoid the impervious knee-jerk reaction.
As big and small changes present themselves before us, it is healthy to listen to those with alternative mindsets, differing points of view, beliefs, and backgrounds. This will ensure that good, solid, well-educated decisions are being made while better understanding possible reactions to those decisions.
We live in a very diverse community, state, country, and world — change is inevitable. Some positive, some negative. That’s why, we should strive every day to make the world a better place, and we can only do that by respecting differences and understanding that based upon our backgrounds and experiences, we will have a different view of the world.
For most of us, making the world a better place begins within our homes and radiates into our social circles and careers. Fortunately for our team, both Standard Bank and Dollar Bank have a deeply rooted tradition of enriching their communities and striving to make “our area of the world” a better place. While we appreciate the similarities between the two banks, we also respect and learn from our differences; differences that bestow opportunities on us to foster change, growth, and to make a difference.
We anxiously await putting Standard Bank and Dollar Bank together; preserving our community bank mindset, providing the foundation for career advancement, and providing the scale necessary to care for our customers in the years ahead. Change is in our future (and undoubtedly in yours…) and so is the opportunity to make a difference. I look positively ahead as we all embrace future challenges — and change — together. What version of the history book will you help shape?
President, Standard Bank